Rallying over 1000km: Rush Digital, Saatchi & Saatchi serve up tennis for humans and machines

Auckland’s Rush Digital Interactive, specialists in games, graphics, augmented reality and apps, has teamed with Saatchi & Saatchi to create an arena that pits players from Auckland against rivals more than 1000km away.

The game will be played out at Auckland’s ASB Tennis Centre and Christchurch’s Wilding Park as the ASB Classic tournament approaches.

Opponents, each with a half court, see each other on big screens and their shots are delivered via internet-connected ball machines. When a shot is played, the trajectory is calculated for the ball machines in the other player’s court to return, allowing a rally that seemingly happens between islands.

“We are processing and analysing 15 gigabits per second of HD video — 240 frames per second at full HD resolution across eight wide angle cameras,” says Danushka Abeysuriya, CEO of Rush Digital Interactive.

“The tennis ball machines on both halves of the tennis court have been customised to work over the internet. They can be ‘talked’ to and can also ‘talk’ to each other over a standard internet connection, from anywhere in the world.”

The game was all built using off the shelf components, says Abeysuriya. The idea was conceived and developed by Saatchi & Saatchi.

ASB says it is attempting a Guinness World Record by creating the court, adding it has a strong relationship with Canterbury Tennis in Christchurch.

UPDATE: Here’s what it looked like on the day. 

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