Augustana Vikings esports partners with biometric analysis firm

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 11:10 PM CST
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - The Augustana College Vikings eSports team announced a new partnership with a biometric analysis firm on Tuesday.

Since August, the Vikings and FitGmr, an eSports performance company, have worked together to develop health and wellness programs for the team.

In comes Curia, a biometric tech company, that will use wearable technology to monitor players’ real-time measurements in-game.

Both partnerships aim to further the team’s understanding of the physical and mental abilities of their athletes.

Augustana esports director, Joe Loomis, said this makes them one of the first colleges in the nation to use this technology to up their game.

“There’s a lot of different skill sets [they’re] utilizing by just the way [they’re] looking and how [their] brain is engaging in it,” Loomis said. “We can then take this information and through video review and data collection create a plan for practice.”

With the partnerships, the Augustana Vikings esports team can record full biometric profiles of each of their gamers, much like how other professional and collegiate sports do for their athletes on the field.

According to Loomis, competitive video games have been shown to produce similar heart rates and hormone outputs to physical sports.

He said this technology will bridge the gap between traditional athletics and esports.

“It’s helping them understand how their decision-making process is working,” Loomis said. “Things that they’re not able to understand by watching the game or watching a traditional [Video on Demand] review.”

An infrared bar at the bottom of the computer screen can track metrics like pupil dilation and eye gaze to record how players react to different situations.

Varisty Valorant Player Leslie Pacheco said it’s great to be one of the first college teams to use these tools

“It’s really interesting and cool,” Pacheco said. “I didn’t know that there’s so much science to it ... Knowing that there’s more technology that we could be [using for] tracking our body.”

The technology can also track eye movement. During playback green circles show exactly what the players’ eyes are looking at.

Teammate Carter White said he hopes this new partnership can improve his focus.

“It makes you more aware of things you’re not really thinking of and having that level of insight into your own play,” White said. “I think [it] gives you a lot of ability to improve.”

In its first full official year of competition, the program earned two conference championships and two national runner-up spots across four different video games.

With a few championship banners already up on their walls, the Vikings hope this technology can help them establish a winning legacy in the young sport.

“We’re going to be setting a tone on how that data is going to be used and turned into player profiles that in turn can be used in day-to-day practice opportunities,” Loomis said.

Biometric technology has been in use for about two weeks at Augustana. In the coming weeks, the program will phase in wearables like a headset and armband to measure heart rates and other metrics.