We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Goal-line technology 'ready for World Cup'

Russian linesmen everywhere celebrate

Engineers working on a chip-enabled football are optimistic about the technology being used at the FIFA World Cup football tournament in Germany next year.

”We've been testing the technology at the main soccer stadium in Nuremberg for some time and more recently in an under-17 FIFA tournament in Peru," said Gunter Rohmer, director of performance-optimised systems at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Erlangen, Germany.

"The technology has performed well, and we're pretty optimistic that it will be used at the games in Germany next year."

In or out?

FIFA has shown interest in the technology - largely to help referees make crucial goal-line calls - but has yet to make a final decision.

The radio-based tracking system could also be used to determine whether a ball has gone out of bounds, to compile statistics about individual players, and more, said Rohmer, in an interview at the Systems IT exhibition and conference in Munich.

The chip-enabled football ball is being developed by German sportswear manufacturer Adidas-Salomon AG, software company Cairos Technologies AG, and the Fraunhofer Institute.

The technology is based on an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) chip with an integrated transmitter to send data, according to Rohmer. The chip is suspended in the middle of the ball to survive acceleration and hard kicks via a system developed by Adidas. Rohmer was unable to provide information about the Adidas system.

Similar chips, but smaller and flatter, have been designed to insert into players' shin guards, he said.

Chips ahoy!

At the Nuremberg stadium, 12 antennae in light masts and other locations distributed around the arena collect data that is transmitted from the chips. The antennae are linked to a high-speed fibre-optic ring, which routes data to a cluster of Linux-based servers. The chips use the same 2.4GHz unlicensed frequency band used by Wi-Fi systems, according to Rohmer.

"In our tests, we have noticed that although no Wi-Fi systems have interfered with our technology, our technology has caused some interference with Wi-Fi systems in isolated cases," Rohmer said. "We are looking at ways to avoid any possible interference because we know that Wi-Fi will be used at the games."

FIFA aims to test the technology later this year at another tournament in Japan before ultimately deciding whether to introduce it in all 12 stadiums in Germany selected to host next year's World Cup games.

"Even if the technology is very accurate, it's not perfect - no technology is," said Rohmer. "Our technology is meant to be an aid. Ultimately, the decision whether or not to call a goal will still be up to the referee.

IDG UK Sites

Best January sales 2015 UK tech deals LIVE: Best New Year bargains and savings on phones, tablets,...

IDG UK Sites

Chromebooks: ready for the prime time (but not for everybody)

IDG UK Sites

Best Photoshop Tutorials 2014: 10 inspiring step-by-step guides to creating amazing art,...

IDG UK Sites

Apple TV expert tips: get US Apple TV content, watch Google Play, use multiple Apple IDs and more