Part of a larger body of research into the accessibility of sport, the AKQA R&D team have partnered with Monash University and Tennis Australia to explore the possibility of sonifying live tennis.
Exploring eye trackers, binaural recorders and the sport of Blind Tennis and their players, we were able to explore the feasibility and utility of sonifying a live game of tennis so that people who are blind or have low vision are able to follow the sports they love.
Launching at Australian Open 2021, Action Audio uses real time ball monitoring technology, HawkEye, and transforms this spatial data into 3D sound. The system emphasises ball speed and trajectory, proximity to line and the players’ shot types to augment critical moments of the live action. It is now being offered every day at The Australian Open and being trialled around the world.
If you would like to experience what this might sound like, you can listen to a sample of Action Audio configured for a tennis match between Ash Barty and Danielle Collins in the second set of the Australian Open 2022 women's singles final below. Imagine you are standing behind Barty and Collins is serving towards you from the far end of the court.