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New 'Superhuman Sports' Research Group Looking to Bring Dragon Ball to Life

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

A recently formed group manned by researchers, designers, and artists are looking to meld sports with the augmented reality, power suits, and robotic enhancement devices to bring the worlds of Dragon Ball and Harry Potter to life.

The Superhuman Sports Society (S3) plans to see the fruits of their imagination take form as early as October 10 in Tokyo. S3 is organizing a superhuman sports festival, the first of its kind. The event will be precursor for a larger-scale event they hope to hold in conjunction with Tokyo's 2020 Olympic Games.

S3 held its first synopsium on Tuesday. Speakers included S3 director and Keio University Associate Professor Nanako Ishido, S3 committee member and Ghost in the Shell: Arise Alternative Architecture and Psycho-Pass 2 writer Tow Ubukata, Fan Works president and CEO Akira Takayama, robot designer and S3 President and Representative Director Nobumichi Tosa, and S3 representatives and professors Ichiya Nakamura and Junichi Rekimoto.

One sport under development will utilize a ball that isn't only manipulated by players, but also appears to move on its own. The concept is similar to the Golden Snitch in Quidditch. Utilizing tele-existence technology would also give players a sense that they're flying. Tele-existence uses a camera mounted on a drone and tactile simulation to give the operator the feeling of flight.

S3 Executive Director Kota Minamizawa noted that the ball's abilities would mimic the crazy pitches seen in anime.

The group is also working on a virtual reality concept that would allow players to unleash Goku's Kamehameha and "blind soccer" that would allow students who attend schools for the blind to participate in the sport.

"Currently, students at schools for the blind don't have many opportunities to play sports," Minamizawa said. "Augmentation technology would help us make sport more accessible for those with disability."

The group's work as multiple possibilities, including optical camouflage inspired by Ghost in the Shell. The camouflage was being developed as early as 2002 in Tokyo but Keio University graduate school professor Masahiko Inami (seen right) has made great strides with the technology. S3 is collaborating with the Ghost in the Shell Realize project to further technology based on the series.

Minazawa hopes that the talk about Japanese government's "Cool Japan" program will help promote S3's research since their sports creations could relate back to more anime and manga.

Source: Japan Times

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