Skip to Content
Humans and technology

VR is the US Olympic ski team’s secret weapon

January 24, 2018

Virtual-reality job training has found a rather extreme new application: preparing Olympic skiers for the slopes.

The setup: In early 2017, Strivr, the same firm that produces Walmart’s VR training systems, built a program for the team. To create it, Strivr put a 360-degree camera on top of athletes’ helmets and had them ski down Olympic courses.

(Kinda) carving the slopes: The system acts like 360-degree videos on YouTube. It responds to head rotation but doesn’t allow the user to move freely within the virtual environment. It is, however, paired with the SkyTechSport Simulator—an indoor machine that provides force feedback to the skiers.

Mental advantage: Athletes that have used the system feel as though they’ve skied down the courses in Pyeongchang, South Korea, many times before even arriving at the competition. It’s also allowed preparation to continue even when athletes are injured. We’ll have to wait and see if it works.

Want to stay up to date on the future of work? Sign up for our newest newsletter, Clocking In!

Deep Dive

Humans and technology

Building a more reliable supply chain

Rapidly advancing technologies are building the modern supply chain, making transparent, collaborative, and data-driven systems a reality.

Building a data-driven health-care ecosystem

Harnessing data to improve the equity, affordability, and quality of the health care system.

Let’s not make the same mistakes with AI that we made with social media

Social media’s unregulated evolution over the past decade holds a lot of lessons that apply directly to AI companies and technologies.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.