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Toledo-based company uses laser technology to enhance sports fans' experiences

GPRS and its TruePoint laser division completed around 80,000 projects in the past year which combine fantasy and reality to create immersive 3D graphics for fans.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo-based Ground Penetrating Radar Systems, (GPRS) which utilizes scanning technology for things like lead detection in pipes, has been the largest company in the nation of its kind for 21 years. 

In the past 11 years however, they have added TruePoint's laser technology to potentially change the way fans watch sports forever.

Since that time the company has been involved in adding virtual elements to sports broadcasts.  

The company is headquartered off Monroe St. in west Toledo. Nationwide, they have grown to employ around 700 employees. 

Director of Laser Scanning, Ryan Hacker said on top of the of the other services the company offers, his team wants to add an extra element of interaction for sports fans.

"For fan experiences, we will scan a stadium. There's a company that will then take that data and add in some virtual elements that they'll able to show the fans on TV and the fans in the stadium who can see it live on the jumbotrons," said Hacker.

He said the company becomes involved about a month or two before the project officially goes live when they take a few days to scan what they need to generate a 3D model. Several weeks later the finished product is ready to be shown.

The company has completed around 80,000 projects over the past year which Hacker calls an impressive list.

"The Baltimore Ravens had a raven flying around the stadium, that everybody could see. So, the reason that the laser scanning gets involved because they want the virtual items to interact with the physical real-world items," he said.

They have even teamed up with the Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans and were a part of the NFL playoffs teaming up with Nickelodeon to create an interactive experience of slime on the field.

TruePoint's projects span more than just football. They have also used their technology at baseball stadiums, soccer fields, golf courses, and racetracks. Their scans have even been used in video games, which Hacker said is the future.

"I think we're just seeing the cusp of this, I think this is really going to expand all of the professional sports teams [that] are looking at things they can do to make this experience more fun and unique for their fans," said Hacker.

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