Tech that makes the 2014 FIFA World Cup the most advanced ever, including an exoskeleton
The 2014 FIFA World Cup is here and with it comes some of the most finely tuned athletes in the world. But there's more than just human physical achievement, this World Cup is full of gadgetry that makes it the most advanced tournament ever held.
From 4K cameras to goal line ball recognition technology, this should be the most finely tuned and accurately watched World Cup in history.
Here some of the kit that makes the event so advanced.
Exoskeleton kicks first
An exoskeleton suit, developed in Brazil, will allow a paraplegic person to take the first kick off the World Cup as part of the opening ceremony.
The robotic suit not only allows the user to move but also feeds back touch data so they can feel as they make contact with the ball.
The event, which takes place on 12 June, will showcase the suit designed and built by 156 scientists from across the globe. The paraplegic person controlling the suit is still a secret. Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis dreamt up the idea back in 2002 so this day has been a long time coming. Best of luck to them in this fantastic research.
GoalControl-4D goal line tracking
GoalControl is the company that was selected to be the official suppliers of the goal line technology which will appear this year for the first time in a World Cup.
The GoalControl-4D technology uses a system of cameras and software to accurately determine if the ball crosses the goal line into the net. The system uses a total of 14 cameras mounted on the stadium roof and catwalk to capture a three dimensional image of the balls position at all times.
When the ball crosses the goal line the referee receives a vibration and visual alert on his watch within one second. GoalControl says it has "many years of experience in developing and deploying camera-based vision systems that can detect, identify and track moving objects in complex sceneries".
The system is accurate up to 5mm and tracks the ball at 500 frames per second. Perhaps this year England actually stands a chance then.
Adidas Brazuca ball
Probably the most important bit of kit involved in the good old game is the ball. Adidas has spent years perfecting the Brazuca ball which is the official match ball of the 2014 World Cup. Adidas has designed every World Cup ball since 1970.
The ball uses six polyurethane panels that are bonded to keep the ball the exact same weight and roundness throughout. Even in the worst rain the ball will remain perfectly round and balanced. The panel shaping is a world first which should result in faster flight speed and better accuracy. It was tested in a NASA wind tunnel to ensure the best aerodynamics possible.
The design of the Brazuca is inspired by the Brazilian home of this World Cup. The coloured bands cross the ball in a manner inspired by the meandering pathways of the Amazon river in Brazil while the colours are taken from the official Brazilian World Cup logo.
The official match ball can be bought by anyone for the princely sum of £100.
Nike Mercurial Superfly boots
The next most important things to a player are his boots. Nike has pushed forward this year with its Flyknit technology to create a totally original type of boot.
Christian Ronaldo will be wearing Nike's Mercurial Superfly boots, among other players, during the World Cup. These are similar to Nike's current Flyknit trainers except with high-top design and cleats on the bottom.
The carbon-fibre plate on the sole is solid for explosive speed while the micro-textured Flyknit upper gives a barefoot feel and comfortable fit, says Nike. The cleats use Nike's Vapour Traction system to offer grip in all directions of movement.
The Nike Mercurial Superfly boots are available to buy from 12 June for $275.
Sony F65 8K cameras
The World Cup isn't being aired fully in 4K this year unfortunately, but Sony is giving it a go to push the technology forward. It will be filming three games, including the final, with its F65 8K cameras.
Sony's F65 film camera, used for Hollywood blockbusters, shoots in RAW 8K using two 4K sensors. Nicolas Ericson, director of FIFA TV, added: "4K is a game changer in how we produce football matches." And even without 4K streaming it means two cameras can cover the entire pitch allowing for digital zoom for close-ups at 1080p HD quality.
The footage will be shot from different angles to conventional football broadcasting too as Mark Grinyer, Sony's head of live production business development revealed. "We're using 12 cameras with a similar layout to 3D, lower down so as to show more of the stadium for awe inspiring shots," he said.
The only problem is broadcasting as few have the capacity to send out 4K just yet and even sending online with live feeds isn't ideal.
Fans will be pleased to hear that Brazilian telecoms have been given a massive upgrade in recent months. That means Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity should be everything that fans need it to tweet, bet, and generally socialise internationally and show off that they're at the World Cup.
Oi, the telecoms company doing the upgrades, said it has gone from 78,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in April to a massive 700,000 now, making it Brazil's largest network.
2G, 3G and 4G connectivity have also had boosts with better coverage at key points in the tournament cities across Brazil. But be warned as every 1MB of data will set travellers back a hefty £5.