North America Gets First Look At Interactive Playing Surface During NBA All Star Weekend

February 19, 2024 by Dave Haynes

The North American sports market got a look this past weekend at German technology that turns a basketball floor into a vast interactive display.

The just-ended NBA All-Start Weekend in Indianapolis included a Saturday night set of skills contests run on a 27 million pixel LED screen embedded in a modular glass-based floor called LumiFlex, made by German company ASB GlassFloor.

Instead of graphics painted into a traditionally glossy hardwood surface, the glass surface (coated for grip) was a steadily changing canvas for events like the 3-pointing shooting and slam dunk contests, with dynamic graphics tracking player movements. The one-inch-thick glass is opaque blue in off-state, but lights to a wide color spectrum and can do 4K.

This Fast Company piece gets into more of the details.

I watched a bit of it, and the graphics did look good. It would be more than a bit much if there were tracking arrows and other visual cues during a game, but was fine for this novelty stuff, which is all about bling anyway. The All Star game on Sunday night was at a different arena in Indianapolis, and was played on a conventional wood floor.

Here is an NBA replay video that will give you a long look at how it was used.

The governing body for international hoops, FIBA, says these glass LED floors now have the health safety properties – like grip and bounce – to compare favorably with traditional wood floors.

FIBA has given its OK for the use in tournaments. ASB MultiSports has a base version that just marks out lines, which would be handy in venues with courts that have different lines for different sports, such basketball versus volleyball. Then there is this full video version that can do everything from training applications to advertising. The latter can also run live, in-game stats visible to the crowd in the arena, but also on broadcasts.

The players have to be comfortable with the surface, of course, but you could certainly see how team owners and both their game experience and sponsorship marketing teams would be salivating at the opportunity to make floors into digital billboards on breaks. Playing surfaces have already been turned into active canvases in pre-game visual shows, but is done with projection and can only be done with big impact if the house lights go down.

I actually think there is as much or more advantage to this sort of system for collegiate sports and public facilities. A playing surface that gets used for numerous sports has, by necessity, numerous lines … like a basketball court that’s also going to used that weekend for volleyball, badminton and fusball (indoor soccer).

Now if someone could figure this out for artificial turf, and be able to switch football and soccer surface lines with an app, oh my …

This video gets into the tech …

  1. Tiemen Rapati says:

    Thanks for the article Dave! GlassCourt OS (a JV with ASB GlassFloor) is the technology behind the scenes that enables the interactivity.

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