This is the first World Cup in which a semi-automatic football is being used which includes high-tech sensors to assist the referee, which is why the football is charged before every game. Adidas, the official FIFA partner for the tournament, is supplying the match balls for the tournament. The official match ball is named “Al Rihla”, which means journey in Arabic. The official ‘Al Rihla’ footballs used for the World Cup in Qatar are so high-tech that they don’t just need to be filled with air, they need to be charged.
Manufactured by Adidas, the ball has a sensor inside that measures data such as speed and direction and allows for ball-tracking and offside calls by VAR. An earlier report from the Daily Mail revealed that fluoro-coloured balls are being charged like a smartphone from a power board ahead of a game in an incredible picture posted on Reddit.
The relationship between FIFA and adidas goes back over 50 years. Since 1970, adidas has been supplying the official match ball for all FIFA World Cup matches.
It’s a far cry from the days when people used to hunt for a bicycle pump and then put a bit of oil or butter on the attached little needle to inflate a football. The sensor is powered by a small battery, which Adidas said can last for six hours of active use, or up to 18 days.
The sensor, which weighs just 14 grams, provides real-time ball-tracking; With cameras around the pitch the referee is helped to determine offsides and other questionable decisions. Maximilian Schmidt, co-founder and managing director of KINEXON, which manufactured the sensor, said:
“Any time the ball is kicked, headed, thrown or even tapped, the system picks it up at 500 frames per second. The data is transmitted in real time from the sensors to a local positioning system.” The data is sent to the system, which includes a setup of network antennas installed around the field of play that takes in and stores the data for immediate use when the ball flies out of bounds during play, and it When a new ball is thrown or kicked for replacement, KINEXON’s backend system automatically switches to the data input of the new ball without the need for human intervention,”
Although the machines are not infallible, many slammed VAR for disallowing a goal to earn Valencia in the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador; It’s not just about the data the ball can pull in. This high-tech sensor football hit the headlines when it was determined that Bruno Fernandes, not Cristiano Ronaldo, had scored the goal during the match between Portugal and Uruguay. Nobody knew about this advanced soccer ball before this FIFA World Cup match.
Franziska Löfelmann, design director of football graphics and hardware at adidas, said the ball was also as fast as lightning.
“The new design allows the ball to maintain significantly higher speeds while traveling through the air. For the biggest global stage in all sport, we aim to make the impossible possible by creating the fastest and most accurate FIFA World Cup ball to date. are ready for.
The extra speed comes from the fact that the ball is made with water-based ink and glue, giving it a much smoother feel even with dimples on the skin; Instead of using a raised texture like the previous balls.
“Year by year, it’s getting better for strikers, and for us goalkeepers, it becomes much harder, it’s a much faster ball,”
KINEXON is the manufacturer of the sensor and has spent six years developing and testing the sensor. Each ball is actually a device with two sensors, each serving a different purpose. One is the ultra-wideband (UWB) sensor which is more accurate than GPS or Bluetooth and the other sensor is an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor which gives a finer look at how the ball moves in space.
Every time a ball is kicked, the sensors start firing and receive data at a rate of 500 frames per second. This data is immediately transmitted to Local Positioning Systems (LPS) installed around the area, which store the information for immediate use.