Oh boy. Premier League soccer club Manchester City has unveiled a Connected Scarf it says can track the emotional state of fans during matches.
The Abu Dhabi operation has partnered with tech infrastructure giant Cisco to revamp the classic icon of football fandom, which it says shows “how deeply fans are influenced by the action on the pitch”.
This is not your father’s football scarf. It’s powered by an Emotibit sensor that “sits discreetly on the neck” and is designed to pick up body signals during gaming. An accelerometer monitors movement, there’s also a temperature sensor, as well as a PPG sensor to monitor blood flow.
There is an EDA sensor that can determine stress levels and skin changes in fans’ sweat, which can tell the story of fans’ reactions during games. It’s basically a lie detector. And as long as there’s something to scoff at elsewhere, we won’t touch it. City lawyers have proven time and time again how hardworking and efficient they are.
The project page says: “The scarf records a range of physiological measures including heart rate, body temperature and emotional arousal – giving us specific information to analyze how fans are feeling at different times during the match.”
Obviously, this only scratches the surface of what the connected scarf will be capable of in the future. While data is undeniably driving football on and off the field these days, these efforts to quantify fan emotions are a little over the top. City say it will eventually be available to fans worldwide from next season, but for now it is being piloted among selected fans.
Ryan Shaw, creative director of Octagon UK, which helped Cisco, says (via Reuters): “Creating this technology from scratch has been an incredible journey and we’re incredibly excited about how much this scarf can teach us about fans and club culture.”
Manchester City’s emotion-tracking Connected Scarf is so ‘modern football’