New technology promises to bring the game action closer than ever -- even for fans watching San Jose Sharks games from a couch.
Groundbreaking technology has been revealed to the public, and Sharks fans are the ones standing to benefit the most. The new tech toy is a device that can be fixed to a piece of furniture so that hard hits into the boards encasing a hockey rink can be mimicked through vibrations delivered from the device.
The Sharks' home rink, SAP Center, has had sensors installed into the walls surrounding the rink. Each time the sensors pick up a crash or check into the boards, the data is relayed to those devices in fan's homes, triggering a corresponding vibration that matches the intensity of the hit.
Dubbed "4D Sports," the new systems cost $300. Since no device of this kind has ever been released, no one is quite sure how the equipment will be received.
The hope is that such technologies elevate the quality of the virtual fan experience, giving more to fans who don't make it out to see the game in-person.
But fan reception will play a significant role in whether this and other technologies move forward and become staple components of the virtual fan experience. According to the San Jose Mercury News, some analysts are skeptical that the device will catch on, calling it a "gimmick."
And some fans questioned by the newspaper are skeptical that the experience would have any staying power.
"I think it's something that for the first game would be kind of cool. After that -- whatever," said Sharks fan Rick Lilly. "I can see a check [into the boards]. ... It's an exciting enough play that I don't know that I need my feet vibrating to get me into it."