FitTech Insider

Can we learn the exact body motion in VR, Gregory Gettinger?

Training in a virtual environment: VR motion learning makes it possible. With its authentic tennis application, the startup of Gregory Gettinger and Hans Pfleiderer brings training, games, and tournaments into the virtual world. What kind of partnerships are they currently looking for?

When Gregory Gettinger is asked about what he and his company have in common, he says: "We want to have fun, but we also want to be successful and move forward quickly." A couple of years ago he stood frustrated on the court with a tennis elbow when he got the idea: the digitization of tennis. Together with his colleague Hans Pfleiderer, the CEO of the Viennese startup brought VR tennis, including real ball physics and movements, on the market in 2021. For people who like to practice on a real tennis court in a virtual final against a digital Roger Federer.

Gregory Gettinger@ FitTech Summit V: Tech or Die!

On November 8-9 2021, the FitTech Summit Episode V is going live with a fully digital edition, with two days full on insights devoted to the future of fitness and health in the post-pandemic world. We are pleased that Gregory will be part of this event. Get a free ticket now!

Whose needs are you trying to solve with your product?
We have brought the real sport of tennis, including authentic movement and ball physics, into the virtual world. We don't call ourselves VR Motion Learning for nothing - our goal is to enable tennis movements to be efficiently rehearsed and learned so that they can actually be implemented on the real court. In this way, we address the whole range:

  • Beginners who want to learn tennis step by step from home.
  • Hobby tennis players who want to improve their technique or get rid of their tennis elbows.
  • Teenagers who want to play together in the virtual world.
  • And finally, professionals for whom we offer a cheaper alternative to the court with our application.

In contrast to soccer, only the top 100 players in the tennis world really earn money with it, from 101 you pay on top. Coaches, flights, hotels - it costs thousands of euros every year just to play. So from the second league on, there's a lot of space for an application like ours.

The most important feature we are currently working on is motion similarity modeling. This is where we take your individual biomechanics and use them to construct your ideal forehand. We compare this ideal with your current forehand and show you how you can successively reach this goal.

Tell us more about your product. What makes your technology exceptional?
Our application brings two main aspects. One is the entertainment aspect: the player can play against the ball machine, get a high score, compete in tournaments or play one-to-one against another. On the other hand, our product has an educational aspect through the efficient learning and training of technique. But this also includes the mental training we achieve through our game simulation. The player finds himself in a stressful situation in the final: third set, tie-break, the eyes of the spectators are on him. Now he has to deliver the second serve exactly as he did in training.

VR Education: Every stroke is tracked, from speed to spin. (@VR Motion)

Where can I play your VR tennis?
To train tennis virtually, our product is available in two versions. The home version is played at home with the controllers of the VR glasses and is aimed primarily at learning and improving the technique of forehand and backhand. Our club version is used in tennis clubs or fitness centers - where there is enough space to move around. So the player actually has to walk and play the strokes virtually like on the real court. Instead of the controllers, however, the player holds the tennis racket we developed. This has a tracker at the end of the handle that captures the player's movement. In addition, the racket lets the player feel exactly how he makes his stroke and where he hits the ball.

What kind of data is collected?
Every stroke is tracked, from speed to spin. After each practice session, the player can see how he has increased his backhand, how well he has bent his knees, whether his shoulder has been okay, where he has hit the ball, and at what height. This allows the player to optimize himself with pinpoint accuracy.

What role does motion sickness play in your product?
None at all. Normally when I go into VR, for example in a Formula 1 game, I get insane motion sickness, so I have to stop after the second turn. That's not the case at all with e-tennis. For one thing, that's because you're moving and active. On the other hand, our application is so accurate that there are no more movements that are not played.

What is your business model?
Our business model is twofold. One is the subscriptions we sell: The home version costs 20 euros a month, and the license fee for the club is 200 euros. Secondly, we're establishing a super league for e-tennis - in the process, we'll generate further revenue through sponsors and digital rights.

Key question: Can you learn the exact body motion in VR? "Yes!"

Why do you want to establish such a league? And what business aspect does it have?
The league is incredibly interesting because there is no league in the tennis industry like there is in soccer, baseball, or basketball. There are the four big Grand Slams and many medium and small tournaments. There is no FC Bayern Munich in tennis, only the top 100. From a business aspect, the league is relevant for two reasons. First, it drives subscriptions and thus technology. The more famous and attractive the league is, the more people will play and practice e-tennis. Second, a league provides value to the advertising industry, which in turn provides value to the participating teams.

What aspects from my work did i value completely differently a few years ago? I think the importance of technology and the opportunities it offers us. Five years ago, this idea that we have implemented here would not have been technically and technologically possible. I also learned: Everything you plan, you have to double or triple in cost and time you spend on it.

Which next feature of your product are you currently working on?
The most important feature we are currently working on is motion similarity modeling. This is where we take your individual biomechanics and use them to construct your ideal forehand. We compare this ideal with your current forehand and show you how you can successively reach this goal.

How would you describe the market you are in?
Because we are just creating the market by ourselves, we are currently active in many different markets, such as the fitness market, the home market, and the e-sport market. But basically, we are in the VR sector of the education market, in which we have no competition in tennis at the moment.

How do you think your market is developing?
Our market is developing rapidly because the markets around us are exploding at the moment: The home fitness market is growing 20 to 30 percent a year, the VR market over 30 percent, and the e-sport market 10 to 15 percent. Add to that the consequences of the covid pandemic, such as contact and travel restrictions. For us, it's the perfect storm.

What kind of partnerships are you currently looking for?
We are looking for two types of partnerships. One is that we are searching for locations where we can build centers for e-tennis. Second, we are building tennis e-clubs and looking for tennis coaches to put together teams of 5 to 10 tennis players for our Super League. We need a lot of teams competing against each other to increase interest from sponsors and the world.

Where do you think the general fitness, health, and technology market is heading, and what do you see happening in the next few years?
A lot will happen. The home market is growing rapidly, people want to do fitness at home and not just in the club. But people also want to be able to perform the movements properly at home. In other words, they want to improve not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of quality.

What headline would you like to read about your company at the end of 2022?
That the Super League has established itself and found a corresponding spread.