HTC Future Of Football Study Predicts Robotic Players By 2060

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HTC predicts immersive smartphone applications, improved analysis and robotic players in next 50 years

Taiwanese manufacturer HTC has taken some time out from trying to revive its struggling smartphone business to turn its attention to the future of football, predicting how mobile technology will affect how the sport is played and viewed by fans over the next 50 years.

Its Future of Football report, authored with Futurizon’s futurologist Dr Ian Pearson, predicts a range of innovations, culminating with fully controlled robotic football players, driven by fans in 2060, as smartphone and wearable technology matures in the next half decade.

HTC is an official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League football competitions and reportedly plans to renew its focus on marketing in 2014 as it seeks to engineer a turnaround.

Changing the game

HTC Future of football © HTCThe report predicts cameras and sensors on the pitch capable of locating players and providing data on pitch condition will come into the game between 2020 and 2030, while data will be collected from ball impact sensors and accelerometers in football boots by 2025 – helping coaches analyse the game and referees make decisions.

Referees will also be aided by active contact lenses that let them see every area of the pitch, while audio links between coaches and players might be permitted by 2040. By 2035, the report predicts that active skin technology will see electronics printed on players skin capable of extracting information from the nervous system and blood chemistry.

This will provide performance data as well as information on players’ health, enabling the use of nutritional products using real-time physiology data by 2060.

Fan engagement

Fans will also benefit from a range of innovations, most linked to smartphone applications and television coverage. Mobile apps will become more immersive, with real time data and augmented reality features that will eventually make it feel as though supporters are actually playing the game.

Insect like robots and players’ kits will carry tiny cameras offering more camera angles for broadcasters, and fans will eventually be able to control robotic football players participating in full leagues.

HTC Champions League“Football is a sport that centres on audience engagement. Technology has always been used to improve the quality of play and audience participation both in and beyond the stadium,” says Dr Pearson. “In the coming years we will see this come on in leaps and bounds as the on-pitch action is increasingly informed by data, while in the stands and at home, the audience’s experience becomes richer to the point of incredible sensory realism.”

Luddite sport

However given that goal line technology has only been incorporated into the sport in the last few months after much debate, these innovations seem unlikely to be adopted any time soon.

The report admits that its timelines are not based on the technical feasibility of the technologies or their market release, but rather the time it will take for such features to mature and be accepted by football.

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