The World Cup is well under way. And since here at English Matters there is nothing we like more than football and technology, we will take a look at some the cutting-edge technologies making headlines in Brazil.
Football is a great game, and people get very emotional about it. Billions of dollars are invested worldwide on making it as entertaining as possible. Ultimately what it boils down to is the number of goals scored. A new automated technology is now helping referees ascertaining exactly when the ball enters the goal area, and when a team scores a point. This year’s World Cup is the first when such technology was used. Devices around referees’ wrists vibrate when the ball crosses the threshold. There are several cameras around the perimeter of the football field pointing towards the goal posts, and provide real-time feedback on where the ball is at any given time.
The technology really came to the fore during France’s group-stage match against Honduras. France’s second goal was immediately broadcast on the big screens around the stadium and into millions of homes around the world.
Some of us can still remember watching the World Cup on grainy black-and-white TV screens. The games where exciting, but the way we watched them wasn’t.
Today wealthy fans can enjoy all the action in Ultra High Definition. For the uninitiated, this standard of TV transmission can be viewed on special television sets adopting the 4K format. This is around four times the size (and quality) of standard high-definition format. Some say you can see every single blade of grass on the football field. Among the channels transmitting in this format is the British Broadcasting Agency (BBC).
The 2014 World Cup is also the first time a slight lower-tech innovation is being used. Referees can use a foam to demarcate the line behind which players must stand when a free kick is being shot. The foam-like material is applied from an aerosol can and quickly disappears into the grass.
Referee Yuichi Nishimura used it in the championship’s opening game between Brazil and Croatia.