Manchester City Connected Scarf

Oh boy. Premier League football club Manchester City has revealed with a Connected Scarf it says can track the emotional state of fans during games.

The Abu Dhabi operation has partnered with tech infrastructure giant Cisco on a revamp of the classic icon of football fandom, which it says shows “just how deeply fans are impacted by the action on the field”.

This ain’t your daddy’s football scarf. It’s powered by an Emotibit sensor that ‘sits discreetly on the neck’ and is designed to pick up the body’s signals during games. An accelerometer monitors movement, there’s also temperature sensor, as well as a PPG sensor to monitor blood flow.

There’s an EDA sensor that can determine stress levels and changes in skin sweat fans that can tell the story of fans’ reactions during games. Essentially, it’s a lie detector. And, while there’s plenty to make fun of elsewhere, we’re not touching that one. City’s lawyers have shown on numerous occasions how hard working and effective they are.

The project page says: “The scarf records a range of physiological measures, including heart rate, body temperature, and emotional arousal – giving us concrete information to analyse how fans are feeling at different moments in the match.”

Apparently, this only scratches the surface of what the connected scarf will be capable of in the future. While data is unquestionably driving football on and off the field these days, these efforts to quantify the emotions of fans is all a bit much. City says it’ll eventually be available to fans around the world from next season, but for now it is being piloted among select fans.

Ryan Shaw, Creative Director of Octagon UK which assisted 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.”

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