(Reuters) – Select supporters of Manchester City will sport the latest in wearable technology next season as the humble soccer scarf gets an upgrade, complete with a biometric sensor integrated into the fabric to monitor emotional, physiological and movement data.
Using an EmotiBit bio sensor that sits discreetly on the neck, ‘The Connected Scarf’ captures the body’s bio-signals throughout a match.
It also records a range of physiological measures, including heart rate, body temperature and emotional responses — offering information on how fans feel at different moments.
“In our work with City over the past few years, we’ve continuously looked for ways to connect fans to the sport they love, on another level,” said Ashley Marusak, the Global Sports Marketing Manager for Cisco, which helped develop the product.
“The Connected Scarf is an exciting project for us to pilot together, as we seek to better understand and measure the ups and downs of football fandom and how the game impacts supporters not only emotionally, but physically as well.”
Ryan Shaw, Creative Director of Octagon UK, which partnered with Cisco in the project, said ‘The Connected Scarf’ would help them understand the physiological emotions fans go through.
“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,” he said.
Production and technology agency Unit9 also helped spearhead the initiative.
The scarf will not be readily available to all fans yet as only a select number will be distributed to supporters of City and also those of their sister club New York City FC in the United States.
“It’s a brilliant idea and gives us more of a special connection with the fans,” City defender Aymeric Laporte said in a statement.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)