James Posted July 27, 2009 Share Posted July 27, 2009 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8161359.stm Drive for the 'augmented' stadium Ball in back of the net, AFP/Getty The tech should help fans celebrate and commiserate Social media could soon help sports fans get more out of every fixture. Researchers are creating software that links fans' smartphones into a network so they can easily share messages, images and video. The software could prove a boon for seated events when friends are not able to sit together but want to chat about the on-field action. It could also help them include fans and friends who did not manage to get tickets to a match. "We are not trying to take away from the quality of the football match, we are trying to augment it," said Dr Matthew Chalmers, a reader in computer science at the University of Glasgow and principal investigator on the "smart stadium" project. Foundational work for the project involved research students travelling to football matches with fans to see what they did when supporting their team. "We tried to get a feel through these studies to document and detail some of the processes and make sure we were not being too artificial in what we were thinking," said Dr Chalmers. Army deployment The researchers are working with the Tartan Army - fans who travel round the world following local Scottish football teams and the national side. Some Tartan Army fans have been given Apple iPhones fitted with prototypes of the software Dr Chalmers and his co-workers are developing. Dr Chalmers said the software was being developed to help fans overcome a couple of the problems they encounter when travelling to support their team. Apple iPhone, AP The project switched to the iPhone from Windows Mobile For instance, he said, key members of supporter groups cannot sometimes travel to a match but want to keep up with what happens before, during and after. The software written by the researchers for smartphones uploads text, images and video to social networking sites such as Facebook so all the members of a supporter group can see it. The researchers also plan to use the Bluetooth short-range wireless technology built into most smartphones as a messaging system so those attending a match can keep in touch or share media. The software developed by the researchers creates what is known as an "ad hoc" wireless network. Each phone communicates with only with its near neighbours, but the network can grow to great size flexibly. At matches, data passes through the ad hoc network, percolating through the crowd to the members of different groups of friends. "Ad hoc means you can do it locally and it is free," said Dr Chalmers. "It is pretty quick if you are in range and can ship megabits around in a few seconds." Early versions of the software will be improved as the project goes on to ensure that its capabilities match what fans want to do with it. "It's not an artificial lab test they try out for 10 minutes," said Dr Chalmers. "They are using the phone all day and every day." He added that the researchers plan to release the software as a free mobile application so that anyone can use it. Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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