Anyone for a smart scarf? Hi-tech upgrade for Manchester City fans


From the long-gone rattle to instant replays on smart phones, football fans have long marched happily in step with the technological upgrades that enhance their match-day experiences but now comes a gadget that offers to measure their emotional response through the humble supporters’ scarf.

Select Manchester City fans will be offered a “smart scarf” next season, the latest in wearable technology that sees a biometric sensor integrated into the fabric to monitor emotional, physiological and movement data. Using an EmotiBit bio sensor that sits discreetly on the neck, The Connected Scarf, as it has been snappily dubbed, captures the body’s bio-signals throughout a match.

It also records a range of physiological measures, including heart rate, body temperature and emotional responses, offering information on how fans feel at different moments.

“In our work with City over the past few years, we’ve continuously looked for ways to connect fans to the sport they love, on another level,” said Ashley Marusak, the Global Sports Marketing Manager for Cisco, which helped develop the product.

“The Connected Scarf is an exciting project for us to pilot together, as we seek to better understand and measure the ups and downs of football fandom and how the game impacts supporters not only emotionally, but physically as well.”

Ryan Shaw, a director of Octagon UK, which partnered with Cisco in the project, said The Connected Scarf would help them understand the physiological emotions fans go through. “Creating this technology from scratch has been an incredible journey, and we’re incredibly excited about how much this scarf can teach us about fans and club culture,” he said.

Production and technology agency Unit9 also helped spearhead the initiative.

The scarf will not be readily available to all fans yet as only a select number will be distributed to supporters of City and also those of their sister club New York City FC in the United States. “It’s a brilliant idea and gives us more of a special connection with the fans,” City defender Aymeric Laporte said in a statement.