Soccer is notorious for provoking passionate, heightened emotions in its fans, and now the U.K.'s top team Manchester City has a way to track them—via the humble football scarf.
The reigning U.K. Premier League championship club worked with technology partner Cisco, sports marketing agency Octagon and production company Unit9 to create the "Connected Scarf," a piece of wearable tech that reads users' emotions as they watch a game.
The scarf is fitted with an open-source device of biometric sensors integrated into the fabric, anonymously capturing bio-signals coming from a series of skin conductance sensors. According to Cicso, this can accurately track and record fans' emotional, physiological, and movement data throughout a match.
It will track four separate data streams: heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration, oxygen saturation and hydration; sympathetic nervous system responses that are driven by cognitive and emotional arousal; movements, activity, gesture, rotation, and cardinal direction; and temperature, which can be used to assess health as well as emotional reactions.
Octagon created a two-minute film to launch the project. Featuring Manchester City players Jack Grealish and Aymeric Laporte it documents the development of “The Connected Scarf” as fans throughout the stadium tested the new technology during the team’s crucial victory over Newcastle in the Premier League title run. The film is supported by a Connected Scarf website, which is hosted on Manchester City’s partner site.
Six prototypes have been made so far, to be offered to selected fans to wear next season. According to a Cisco spokesperson, the data will be used to explore areas such as fans' physiological reactions, what it means to be a fan in different cultures, how fans' data changes throughout the season and in the stadium on match day.