Swedish technology: cell phone vibrations might let us watch soccer games without actually watching
Fans of soccer currently have three ways of staying updated on an ongoing match via their cell phones: text messages, audio content, or mobile TV – for those who have compatible phones and live in countries where this service is available.
All these not only that require a lot of your attention, but might also disturb people around you.
So a new way of alerting fans about the events during a soccer game might appear: a vibrating way. Literally.
Swedish researchers from Umeå University, together with Jiong Sun from Ericsson Research, are working on a new technology that could send in-game info via cell phone vibrations.
Phones should be somehow synchronized with the ball the game is actually played with. This can be done via video, since there are lots of TV cameras that constantly follow the ball’s movement on the field.
So, whenever someone kicks the ball, your phone should vibrate. The vibrations should be of different frequencies and lengths, according to the area where the ball is located. If it’s in midfield, for example, the phone should produce a weak, short-time vibration. When someone scores a goal, the vibration could be long and more powerful.
Of course, all this is just theory for now.
How to design ‘intuitive’ vibration patterns (a kind of ‘Braille codes’) to represent dynamic game information – that is the most challenging part of making the vibrotactile technique easy and informative for users, says Shafiq ur Réhman from Umeå University.
Well, if the difficulties are surpassed and everything goes according to the plan, we could soon be witnessing dialogues like: “– Why is your pocket vibrating like that? – Oh, I’m watching the game. Chelsea vs. Manchester. They sure kick that ball a lot…”
The new technology is said to be commercialized, sometime in the future, by the Swedish company Videoakt AB. Sounds good, I guess.