Game-changing app ‘to transform snooker’ in new era

PUBLISHED: 13:00 18 July 2020

Revolutionary technology is set to transform the world of snooker as the professional sport comes to terms with the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic

Revolutionary technology is set to transform the world of snooker as the professional sport comes to terms with the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic


Revolutionary technology is set to transform the world of snooker as the professional sport comes to terms with the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

A game-changing app called VVR, or Virtual Versus Reality, will allow players to compete remotely against each other across the globe.

And while the shutdown of live sport has seen e-sports enter the mainstream, VVR will feature real tables – with the balls moving around in front of the players’ eyes.

So a trailblazer of the baize in China can take a shot and his opponent in London will see the balls move precisely to where they end up on the other side of the world.

Snooker balls are traditionally solid but the VVR versions have gyros and receivers inside and each ball has its own code, while the weighted balance will remain the same.

Millions of microdots on the table act as locators on a grid. If a colour is potted, it will return to its designated position when placed on any part of the table.

The invention is the brainchild of Mark Harnell and his UK company We Are Creative and he said: “I came up with the idea in 2011 but the technology didn’t exist back then.

“I created an app and I always wanted an app player to play against a real person. But when Covid-19 came along we used the same technology so that two real people can play.”

Even after the lockdown ends, the sporting landscape could be radically different for some time with the necessity to observe social distancing – and the future of travel up in the air.

Harnell added: “So now, instead of spending all that money flying around the world, you can stay at home and play – and stay safe.”

Harnell, who worked for boxing promoter Frank Warren for 12 years, developed the Power Snooker and Pool App in conjunction with Power Snooker, the format designed to invigorate snooker with the introduction of half-hour matches, the Power Ball and Power Play in 2010.

Mike Gruber, chief executive of Power Snooker Group Ltd, said: “I think Mark’s a genius. People who understand the science get it straight away, but most people say it’s extraordinary.

You may also want to watch:

“I would like to see the world overcome this Covid and return to normality, but this technology enables people to play sport remotely.

“Right now it’s guesswork as to when spectators go back and whether they feel safe when they do so.”

Gruber believes VVR has the potential to revolutionise the trend in esports – and beyond.

“It has all kinds of possibilities, it has applications in darts, bowling and backgammon,” he added.

“It covers any sports so long as they are non-contact sports – even Formula One, though that would be much more complicated and expensive. It also may have potential medical benefits.”

In the wake of the pandemic, sports will be falling over themselves to keep up with the sea change they face, and VVR could offer a bright future for snooker with the next generation.

This invention, which incorporates a range of learning aids, has been endorsed by a promising young English player, 12-year-old Dylan Smith from Kent, who said: “It’s crazy, it’s going to be great if it works well.”

The cancellation of events has meant that Dylan’s progress has been hampered – while the chance to test himself against players across the globe would offer an excellent opportunity to improve his game.

“I think they should have tournaments with people around the world,” he added.

“I play against guys from China and places like that now, and if another thing like this coronavirus happens again we can keep playing.”

Dylan, who will compete in the last 16 of the England Under-14 Championships when they are rescheduled after the lockdown, said: “I think it will appeal to young players because it’s cool, it’s tech and a lot of kids my age like technology – it would help snooker to become more popular.”

Harnell believes VVR, which covers all cue sports including pool, can bring a fresh impetus to snooker.

“I always thought it was a bit boring, which is why I like Power Snooker,” he said.

“I think this could create new characters in the sport, which will help to attract a new and more diverse audience.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 18:51

Simon Harmer showed glimpses of his 2019 form to snatch four wickets and set up a pulsating final day of Essex’s Bob Willis Trophy clash with Kent.

Yesterday, 09:00

With grassroots football stepping up preparations for the 2020-21 season, why not celebrate with another sporting quiz.

Yesterday, 09:00

A series of free FA podcast recordings can be accessed by Essex clubs and leagues so they can receive valuable financial advice and tips.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Essex opener Nick Browne’s half-century could not prevent Kent from maintaining their advantage in their Bob Willis Trophy contest.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Jonny Bairstow put Ireland to the sword with a barnstorming 82 off 41 balls but England had to overcome a middle-order wobble before moving into an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Royal London series at the Ageas Bowl.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Heino Kuhn became the first player to score a Bob Willis Trophy century as Kent recovered from a morning blip to dominate day one against Essex.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

West Ham United Women’s head coach Matt Beard says his team are ‘the fittest he’s ever seen them’.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham Women will find out their opening two fixtures for the new Super League season on Friday, the FA has confirmed.


The NHS Test and Trace system provides protection for family, friends, colleagues and the community, and is here to keep all of us safe and allow us to enjoy summer safely. We take a look at how the system is working and talk to one member of the thousands of team members about her experiences.

People are being encouraged to enjoy summer safely by exploring destinations closer to home. Taking a holiday in the United Kingdom offers people the chance to uncover some stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and superb accommodation without having to jump on a plane. Here, we take a look at the type of places you can stay, the rules you need to follow and how to enjoy a great staycation.

Summer is here and people from across the South East region can enjoy the many attractions that we have on our doorstep, as long as we follow UK Government advice and enjoy summer safely. There are plenty of places to go and things to do to suit every budget. Here is our guide to the numerous great days out.

Most read sport

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser