It’s one of the greatest sporting events known to man. Once every four years, it provides the perfect stage for many of the world’s best athletes to showcase their skills and national pride to a global television audience in the billions. What is it? It’s the World Cup, of course! With the latest edition of this competition just weeks away, the excitement and anticipation among fans all over the world is rapidly rising. Fans are eager to watch soccer action in the nation which is, at times, known as the spiritual home of the sport.
With all the fantastic teams and players lining up to take part, the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil is definitely expected to be one of the best ever – both on and off the field. The new technology being used will play a major starring role.
Technology on the field
• Adidas Brazuca
Apart from the players and the officials (referee, assistant referees, etc), the soccer ball is actually the next most important element on the field. As usual, the ball will be supplied by German sporting goods manufacturer Adidas. The Adidas Brazuca is the ball which will be on display at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It’s got some of the latest technology stitched into it, which should ensure that the players can trust wholeheartedly in its consistent bounce and true flight. The polyurethane panels are stitched together to form the ball and are designed to effectively repel any moisture that could alter its weight or perfect roundness. This should ensure consistent flight speeds under any atmospheric and weather conditions.
• Goal-line technology
Soccer is definitely a game of inches. Nowhere is this more evident than in situations where players attempt to clear shots off the goal line before the entire ball crosses it. Or, when a powerful shot bounces off the crossbar, down onto the goal line, and then somehow manages to bounce back out into the field of play. With only their naked eyes to rely on, officials often have a difficult time making the right call when such scenarios arise. Thankfully, help is on the way. Goal-line technology (GLT), which will be on display for the first time at an official FIFA tournament, should quickly clear up any confusion or doubt for the refs, players, and fans. The system will rely on 14 high-speed cameras that are strategically placed around the field. It’ll continually track the ball’s position and capture it in 3D. Whenever the entire ball crosses the line, a signal will be transmitted to watches worn by the match officials.
Technology off the field
• State-of-the-art stadiums
Spectators who turn out to watch the matches in Brazil will have the pleasure of seeing the action unfold from some of the most technologically advanced venues ever to host World Cup matches. Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Estádio do Maracanã, which is one of the most famous soccer stadiums in the world, is the venue at which the tournament’s final will take place on July 13. The radically renovated stadium now features a seating capacity of approximately 80,000 – marginally down from what it was before. The newly installed Teflon-coated fiberglass roof now extends coverage from the intense tropical sun to 95% of spectators. This state-of-the-art Teflon coating is excellent for repelling rain, virtually eliminating the threat of leaks and structural ruin which existed with the facility’s previous concrete roof.
Arena da Amazônia is set to become one of the most exotic venues ever to host a World Cup match when Italy and England clash there on June 14. The facility, which has a seating capacity of approximately 44,000, is located in the Amazonian city of Manaus. Its construction carried a hefty price tag of almost $300 million. So, what did its financiers get for their money? Well, as it turns out, they got quite a bit of cool tech. The high-tech hollow core girders featured in its roof are designed to channel the rain water into dedicated catchment areas below. This water will subsequently be recycled through the stadium’s bathroom and irrigation systems. To counter the intense tropical sun, Arena da Amazônia’s roof also comes covered in a translucent Teflon coating that aids cooling by effectively reflecting the rays of the sun.
• Mind-controlled robotic suit
A paralyzed Brazilian teen will have the honor of kicking off the 2014 FIFA World Cup. How will he do this? Well, he’ll channel the power of his brain through a specially designed mind-controlled cybernetic exoskeleton.
The suit, which is made from lightweight alloys, is mated to a special cap containing numerous electrodes. These electrodes are capable of receiving and transmitting the tiny electrical impulses that most people refer to as brain waves.
These impulses are subsequently transmitted to the various moving parts of the suit – including the all-important legs that’ll do the kicking.
• The FIFA app
Soccer lovers can stay on top of all the happenings at the tournament with the official FIFA app, which will allow them access to a wealth of 2014 World Cup-related scores, news, etc. This app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
Top tech takeaways
A lot of very advanced technology will be on display at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. All the off-field innovations such as the state-of-the-art stadiums which have been built or refurbished will definitely make the experiences of fans much more enjoyable. However, the new Adidas Brazuca and goal-line technology, which is set to make its debut in Brazil, are likely to have the most profound impact on the event.