The world's first motion capture technology project to preserve, promote and develop culturally important sports has been launched at Croke Park in Dublin.

The €2 million RePlay project uses motion sensors to capture the styles of play and skills unique to Gaelic and Basque games.

The project is being funded by EU Framework Programme 7.

The programme creates precise 3D rendering of the styles of play so the results can be used to educate future generations about Gaelic football, hurling and Basque Pelota.

In parallel, lower-cost technologies using emerging sensors will be developed to enable similar motion capture at local level in order to conceivably put this technology within reach of every club in Ireland or Spain.

The project team will also be seeking out opportunities for the project to be applied to other traditional sports and games that share the same cultural significance and are at risk from mainstream sports.

The project's scientific and technical coordinator is Professor Noel O'Connor of CLARITY - the Centre for Sensor Web Technologies, which is a partnership between UCD, DCU and Tyndall National Institute and funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Prof O'Connor said: "The continued development of sensor web technology allows us to undertake projects of this scale and diversity in a cost-effective way.

"Our goal at the end of this project is to create novel 3D software that can be used in every club and community centre across Ireland to allow the user practice new and basic skills and to emulate their national or local heroes in the chosen sport.

"This project will also recover techniques of past players from archive footage allowing us to unearth forgotten skills and help us analyse of the evolution of the sport."

Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton described the project as excellent example of the cultural impact that science can have.

RePlay brings together eight participants from five countries across Europe.