UFC tests AI gloves to collect real-time data

Monday, December 18, 2017

UFC 219 is set to feature AI-powered gloves to collect real-time data from fighters and provide viewers with details of the fight.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has approved the test run of the new product that uses analytics and artificial intelligence.

Created in partnership with HEED and analytics company AGT International, fighters will wear glove sensors that measure stress and punching power amongst other things. The data can then be used in real time.

The data will give viewers a detailed scenario of what is going on in the octagon, but it will first be checked to ensure that the data is accurate. To test, the gloves will be tested by selected fighters for a trial run, meaning this data will not be available for fans just yet.

HEED co-founder Mati Kochavi, stated that the UFC was able to produce 12 different “stories” using the gloves during the sparring tests with fighters Mark Diakiese and Edson Barboza. The data indicating movement as well as range between fighters and their cornermen was collected during the sparring session.

Each of the gloves carries various sensors to measure the fighter’s stress, punching power and more such data. “Those insights are covering entire aspects of the fight between Diakiese and Barboza,” Kochavi mentioned. “They cover their passion, the power of the fight, the resiliency, the strategy. All those things happen in the octagon.

“Shouldn’t we tell the story of sport that way? Shouldn’t sport be told in real time, with real data, with real information, and with real insights, and the real emotions? We are a company which is trying to revolutionize the way we’re going to (broadcast) sports and live events.”

Kochavi added all of the data is interpreted by a highly complex “AI agent,” which works from a detailed “world graph” of different data points. They include the attributes a fighter displays in the cage such as his style, emotion, and energy, as well as the surrounding environment made up of the fans, referee and media.

The AI agent can put all that information to fans via smartphone, and fans can tailor the information they want to see based on their preference for particular stats.