The World Cup Goes High Tech
The World Cup is in full force, and there’s even more impressive technology behind the world’s most watched tournament this time around. According to MailOnline, the following new technologies and innovations are taking center field:
Vanishing Spray – at this World Cup referees will have access to a foam, water-based, vanishing spray that will be carried in special belts. When the first foul is committed and a player lines up for a free-kick, referees will be able to draw lines. Within a minute the line disappears, letting play continue without visible marks on the pitch. Although this technology has been used before, this is the first time it has been used at the World Cup proper.
The Brazuca Ball – the Brazuca football is created by six propeller-shaped polyurethane panels being thermally bonded together. Between the seams the Brazuca also has a different geometry to different balls, helping it remain more stable in the air. With its multiple seams and roughness, the Brazuca will be less prone to ‘volatile swoops’.
Advanced Footwear – even the shoes have gone high tech. Nike, for instance, has recently unveiled its Mercurial Superfly boot that uses a three-knit weave to put less material between the foot and the ball, enhancing the players’ touch. Warrior Global comes to the table with equally innovative gear, including a ‘4D Arrowbed Insole’ that actually stimulates blood circulation in the foot.
Smart Clothing – Brazil’s 2014 World Cup jersey has 56% more airflow than previous versions. It is also composed of 94% polyester and just 6% cotton – giving it the comfortable feel of cotton, but the heat regulation properties of polyester. Adidas has also designed a series of pre-cooling sleeves and vests that can be worn by players before and after matches, or during training.
Goal Line Technology – this state-of-the-art technology is being supplied by German company Goal Control, who use seven high-speed cameras at each goal mouth to monitor the action. Used in every stadium, the system is able to tell the referee if a goal has been scored within a second to an accuracy of 0.2 inches (0.5 centimetres), with the word ‘GOAL’ transmitted to a watch on the referee’s wrist if the ball has crossed the line.
The Smart Ball – created by Adidas, the Smart Ball is designed to help players during training. Built-in sensors monitor how hard it is struck, track flight trajectories and reveal impact points for penalties and corners. It syncs with the firm’s micoach app via Bluetooth, and helps players learn and master various kicking and control skills. For example, the data is used to teach users how to bend free kicks, take better penalties, generate more power, and avoid injury.
Fan Technology & Smartphones – the popularity of smartphones will make this year’s World Cup the most connected and interactive tournament ever. Millions of football fans will be using apps to place bets, stream live matches or highlights, as well as share content with their friends via social networks.
So what will they think of next?
Rumor has it that wearable technology could figure more prominently in the future. There are a number of small devices that let you track activity, and professionals and recreational athletes or fans are using pretty much the same kit. In fact, it’s safe to say that by the time 2022 has rolled around the majority of people will be using them as part of regular training and performance measurement, whether they’re a pro or amateur.