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Soccer Ball That Serves as a Virtual Referee Wins Worldwide Award [Video]

A tech-enabled ball that would reduce referee guesswork wins the coveted Red Dot Award

Soccer Ball That Serves as a Virtual Referee Wins Worldwide Award [Video]

The winner of this year’s coveted Red Dot concept award went to the Mexican studio Agent for a soccer ball designed to slash referee mistakes, it was announced over the holiday weekend.

Ctrus is a super high-tech, sensor-enabled soccer ball that lights up in different colors when it’s tossed out of bounds, scores a goal or falls into the crosshairs of a foul, thereby adding some technical ballast to an infamously poorly umpired sport. The ball also has a camera and speed and positioning sensors that would add some statistical heft to the actual movements of the game.

Headed by Alberto Villarreal and Michel Rojkind, Agent beat out more than 3,000 entries for the award.

The ball — only a concept at this point — works by stuffing assorted GPS and RFID chips in a skeletal structure. The skeleton’s then covered in a reinforced-elastic mesh, which has the same bounce of a standard soccer ball, but doesn’t require air.

The ball has the potential to radically alter and, we’d argue, improve soccer. Just think of the amount of data the thing would produce, giving fans an incredible window onto the mechanics of the game and managers a more precise idea of the merits of players themselves. And while Ctrus might not eliminate refs altogether (unfortunately, RFID chips can’t determine whether player x did in fact yank player y’s ponytail) it can tamp down on human error. A camera in the ball would probably do away with terrible calls like this one.

Check more Co. coverage of Agent here.

[Images courtesy of Agent]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.



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