England’s Manchester City soccer club has introduced The Connected Scarf which is a “smart scarf” stuffed with sensors that will allegedly gauge fan emotions.
According to Manchester City’s page for the scarf, the club has six fans and has recorded “over 120 moments of interest across the 90 minutes of a match.”
“The scarf records a range of physiological measures, including heart rate, body temperature, and emotional arousal—giving us concrete information to analyze how fans are feeling at different moments in the match,” the page says.
The club aims to use the collected data to make “curated, customized experiences.”
Manchester City’s scarf uses an EmotiBit wearable sensor module and has many of the same sensors found in fitness trackers, as noted by The Verge. There’s a temperature sensor, PPG (photoplethysmography) sensor to help track heart rate, and an accelerometer. There’s also an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor that will detect stress by measuring changes in sweat levels (it’s the same technology that the FitBit Sense smartwatch introduced to consumer wearables).
Sports marketing agency Octagon UK and technology and production company Unit9 are also wrapped up in the scarf project, according to Reuters. Manchester City will disclose how it will handle privacy concerns when the smart scarf moves out of its pilot phase and how much data might be shared with its partners.
“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,” Ashley Marusak, Cisco’s global sports marketing manager, told Reuters.
According to Reuters, Manchester City plans to make The Connected Scarf available to “a select number” of fans of Manchester City FC and sister club New York City FC next season.