Paderborn’s Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum is set to stage a spectacular special exhibition from 18 January to 5 July, 2009. “Computer.Sport - High tech in motion” will demonstrate the significant role played by current computer-based high tech in today’s sporting world. Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble is acting as patron for the project.
Visitors will be provided with a fascinating insight into state-of-the-art developments over 1,000 m² of floorspace. Many of the exhibits can be tested in hands-on fashion at 26 interactive and 12 media stations. Visitors will have the chance to assume the role of presenter in a TV studio, admire ultra-modern sports equipment developed in accordance with the latest research findings, observe their sprinting prowess and put themselves through the rigours faced by a biathlon marksman.
The markerless motion capture system celebrates its world premiere here. It records runners’ (or visitors’) movements in real time and converts the data into 3D views without requiring markers to be affixed to the body, as before.
This elaborately staged exhibition reflects the world of sport and offers non-sportsmen and active sporting types alike many opportunities to try out the exhibits for themselves. The sections are entitled “Multimedia worlds of sport”, “Achievement through training”, “Cutting-edge sport through cutting-edge technology” and “Virtual worlds of sport”. Information and entertainment alternately take centre stage. Sports equipment used by world and Olympic champions is displayed alongside the many interactive exhibits.
“Computer.Sport focuses on state-of-the-art developments, providing a unique overview of the current status in various sporting disciplines,” said HNF managing director Dr. Kurt Beiersdörfer, as he introduced the exhibition.
Computer.Sport is being held to mark the 25-year anniversary of the founding of Ahorn Sportpark GmbH, the operating company for Paderborn’s biggest multifunctional sports centre, by Heinz Nixdorf on 19 December, 1983. “Heinz Nixdorf was fascinated by two major topics over the course of his lifetime: computers and sport. This will be the first time that these topics have been united in an exhibition,” Beiersdörfer explained.
“I am delighted that the Ahorn Sports Park and the HNF are able to collaborate on this exhibition and develop Heinz Nixdorf’s ideas further in this joint effort,” added Ahorn Sports Park managing director Willi Lenz.
Both the Ahorn Sports Park and the HNF, listed as the world’s biggest computer museum in the Guinness Book of Records, are sponsored by the Stiftung Westfalen foundation set up by Heinz Nixdorf.
The exhibition is also set to feature an extensive programme of accompanying events, with over 100 lectures, panel discussions, activity days, workshops, sports meetings and educational events laid on by the HNF and the Ahorn Sports Park. The topics of doping, ethics and commerce will also feature prominently in the lectures and round table discussions.
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Visitors entering Computer.Sport will be greeted by the grippingly realistic atmosphere of a virtual stadium. A semicircular, high-resolution panoramic video wall displaying a football stadium and featuring accompanying acoustics will set the right mood for their tour. Multimedia worlds of sport is the title of the first section of the exhibition, in which a mock-up of a television studio takes centre stage. Visitors are welcome to try their hands at presenting in the “blue box” to get a feel of what it’s like to do a live studio broadcast. Football fans will be able to see whether they possess the training skills of the likes of Jürgen Klopp at a tactics table at which original scenes from international tournaments are recreated. They are also given a glimpse into the graphics technology used to show the distance to goal in live TV football transmissions or to project banners onto the respective swimming lanes at major championships.
The next section is entitled Achievement through training. Its major highlight is the markerless motion capture system, which enables the body’s movements to be recorded in 3D without first requiring markers to be affixed to the body. Visitors can try it out by performing a short sprint and subsequently viewing the 3D model of their runs. They can also test their reaction time at the pool starting blocks and measure how high they can jump at the force platform. A body scanner will calculate their precise vital statistics - highly important values when it comes to targeted training and the tailoring of materials. A number of pieces of modern equipment and software applications provide an idea of what training at international level is like today.
The power of material is the focus of the section entitled Cutting-edge sport through cutting-edge technology. Olympic champion Thomas Schmidt’s canoe, an ultra-light racing bike and a swimsuit such as that worn by Michael Phelps demonstrate the importance of modern materials in top-level sport today. A hand-propelled bicycle and the computer-controlled knee prosthesis known as the C-Leg point to the enormous technical progress made in the field of sport for the disabled. Visitors can take on the role of Georg Hackl and experience the importance of optimum aerodynamic resistance for themselves as they climb on a luge in a simulated wind tunnel.
Finally, visitors enter the Virtual worlds of sport. Standard computer games have no place in this section, which focuses on real sporting disciplines in real environments. Two Wii stations are included here, of course, but a more professional note is struck by a golf simulator which enables users to play a realistic round on a virtual course with real strokes, from the tee-off all the way to the final putt. A biathlon simulator gives visitors the chance to try their hand at winter sports too. They can attempt to hit the bull’s eye with a laser rifle following a short session on a cross trainer. And a final video installation shortly before the exit, similar to one exhibited at the “documenta” exhibition in Kassel, provides an in-depth analysis of the major moves seen in the 2006 World Cup final.