Manual vs. Male football rivalry will become a virtual reality experience

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- CEEK VR will partner with the Great American Rivalry Series to create virtual reality experiences for ten high school football games across the country, including the duPont Manual vs. Male rivalry in October.

The local rivalry dates back to 1893, and to celebrate the 125th game this fall, a Manual alumnus helped make the virtual reality project a reality.

Rick Ford, a graduate of duPont Manual, is the founder of the Great American Rivalry Series. The group covers more than 100 high school rivalries across the country every year. Ford and Mary Spio, the founder of CEEK VR, connected to create this virtual reality project.

Spio spoke with a couple hundred Manual students Wednesday about the company and how imagination is critical for the future of the technology industry.

“When you think of television, television and sports go together," Spio said. "And since VR is the next level of engagement, it’s a natural for sports, for people to be able to feel the energy.”

She said VR is already being used for concerts, games and training videos, but there are more ways to imagine using the technology. Spio said creating virtual reality experiences from sporting events will turn “local events into global fanfare,” allowing anyone in the world to get a feel for the game, fans, tailgating and energy.

“What we’re looking to do with VR is give people a chance to feel all that,” Spio said.

Ford said the Manual vs. Male rivalry is more than just sports. It’s a community bond, and he’s excited to capture and relive the game and also share that with the world.

“So when you put that helmet on, you literally immerse yourself in the entire experience,” he said.

During that game in October, there will be eight different cameras capturing video from every angle. Then a team of editors will stitch it all together to create a feed available on the app. Spio believes it should take about a week to create the virtual reality, 360-degree video. Then it will be ready for people to relive using the CEEK VR headset.

Spio gave every student at Wednesday’s event a CEEK VR headset.

Manual’s assistant principal Greg Kuhn joked the virtual reality aspect gives them extra incentive to win this game. But beyond the game, Kuhn said he’s inspired watching his students learn about the limitless possibilities for them.

“It’s a real joy, because these are really hard-working kids, very ambitious,” he said.

Spio aid she’s excited to sponsor this project, but she’s also hoping to encourage students to pursue STEM related careers.

“The next generation of consumer electronics and innovation are going to come out of the halls of Manual,” she said.

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