More than 62,000 soccer fans packed the stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil to cheer on home-team Brazil when it took on Croatia in the World Cup opener Thursday. The heated matches are just one part of the World Cup action: the latest technological innovations are also taking center field. The ball that players will kick, throw and head has been scientifically designed by Adidas to fix the problems players complained about in 2010, explains WIRED.com editor Mark McClusky. The ball was constructed with deeper seams (to help stabilize it) and is perfectly symmetrical.
WIRED put together a list of some of the coolest gadgets that are helping to make this year's games the most memorable. The vanishing spray that referees will use to mark off free kicks closely resembles shaving cream -- an ingenious idea that will also prevent players from sneaking up a few inches behind the ref's back. Fans will also expect to see lots of iRobots at the stadiums, which have been tasked with surveillance and bag checks (these same robots cleared bunkers and crossed minefields in Afghanistan).
Controversial calls will still happen; England is still smarting after its loss to Germany in 2010 (England's World Cup dreams were shattered when a goal shot by England's Frank Lampard crossed the line but was discounted by officials). Fourteen video cameras have been mounted in the stadiums, allowing refs and coaches to track the ball in real time. The cameras will capture the ball's every position at about 500 times a second and a smartwatch worn by refs will vibrate when the ball crosses the goal line.
And if you can't make it to Brazil to watch the games in person, don't fret: the games will be broadcast in super high-res 4K video, which has a bandwith of four times the resolution of high-definition television. This means you'll practically feel like you're at the game, only in the comfort of your living room. One hitch: 4K TVs cost at $4,000 and up.
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