Summer is here, making it the season of the neighborhood pickup soccer game. The U.K. design firm Uniform has released a pair of connected soccer goal cones that send messages to friends letting them know when it’s game time.
The connected cones and their corresponding app–known as Pali, which means “goalpost” in Italian and “friend” in Scottish–were designed in-house by Uniform as a way to encourage people to put their phones down and go play sports instead.
Inspired by the success of Pokemon Go, the designers aimed to connect the real world to an app, rather than the other way around. They designed Pali so that all you have to do is separate the cones to send a message; magnets on the cone itself trigger Bluetooth to connect to the app, which then automatically sends an SMS message to friends that includes a map of where the cones are–where the game will take place. When the game is over, simply put the cones back together and another SMS will be sent notifying friends that the game is over.
Currently, you’d need people’s phone numbers to include them in your game. But Pali’s designers at Uniform imagine that the cones could facilitate games with people outside your network as well. What if you could arrive at the beach, set up your goal posts, and have Pali summon a group of people who wanted to kick a ball around with you?
Of course, it’s possible to set up a game with friends whenever you’d like without smart goal cones. But Pali does make it easier to communicate with all your friends about a game without having to get in touch with each separately while giving people more of an excuse to go outside and get active. And once you’re there, the silicon, collapsible yellow cones add a dash of style–and clever design–to the soccer field.