Yes, you read that correctly. Currently, the best club in England, Manchester City, is planning to release a ‘smart scarf’ in order to track fans’ emotions throughout a match. The club has partnered with Cisco to manufacture a scarf that has a sensor embroidered inside.
You’d think you’d be able to tell the crowd’s reaction through regular means like sight or sound, right? But the problem is, Manchester City doesn’t have enough fans at matches to accurately track those stats. Maybe the smart scarf was born out of necessity rather than a desire for money. But knowing Manchester City, it’s probably the latter.
The Connected Scarf
Known as ‘The Connected Scarf’, it will feature an ‘EmotiBit’ sensor that’s designed to sit on a fan’s neck. The ‘EmotiBit’ features a PPG sensor, accelerometer, EDA sensor and temperature sensor. It’s essentially a glorified fitness tracker.
The fact that it has an electrical component inside does raise a few questions. How often will it need to be charged? Is it safe to chuck in the wash? Manchester City said how scarves “capture the blood, sweat and tears of fans, week in and week out.” But it hasn’t answered those questions yet. We have to assume the sensor is removable, allowing fans to wash it. This raises another concern – fans could either lose the sensor or have it stolen at some point.
For the moment, only a select few fans have access to the scarves, as the official launch will only be made public at the beginning of the next season. According to Reuters, a few fans of City’s sister club New York City FC will get access to the scarves earlier than the rest. It would be odd if New York fans received a Manchester City scarf, but maybe the sensor will be stuck in a scarf with their branding.
There’s no word on how much the Connected Scarf will cost, though we can assume it won’t be cheap.
Source: The Verge