Do you remember playing football? Chasing the ball around the park with your mates. Football is coming home; With Boris announcing that hopefully, on the 29th March, sport can return.
Students at Loughborough University London have the opportunity of joining the Digital Skills programme in association with Sport Tech Hub. The Sport Tech Hub by London Sport was created to grow, support and accelerate startups to make London more active. Students are able to develop and implement new skills learnt through the programme and apply them within a real-world situation.
Football Matcher is part of the Sport Tech Hub 2020/21 innovation programme enabling them to accelerate their mission to create more affordable and accessible football playing opportunities with access to professional analytics to enable players to take their game to the next level.
Carl McMullen was assigned to the Football Matcher project due to his previous experience as an engineer. The task was to develop a device that could be placed inside a player’s bib to track their football pitch movement. Highlighting players distance covered, sprints and heat map.
Fitting the device in the player’s bib required the device to be compact, secure, lightweight and thin enough to transmit the antenna’s signal to the central hub.
Carl was able to develop the concept using 3D modelling software and using vernier callipers to measure precise measurements. Utilising the circuit board’s mounting points to secure the board in location and battery pack within the device.
Carl went about the process by initially completing concept sketches to highlighting key features and requirements for the device. Using Football Matcher’s 3D printer, the designs could be tested. However, this proved to be challenging as the printer had reliability issues that needed to be fixed (Sorry, Phil). Once these issues with the printer were rectified, the progress with developing the case continued. Initial plans were envisioned to include a debossed Football Matcher logo; however, limitations with 3D printing restricted this.
Each test took approximately 6hours to print. Patiently waiting in anticipation for the samples to finish. The initial designs required small changes to mount points and access for the micro USB charging ports. Designs were tested for functionality and performance. Limitations were found for the antenna’s signal; improvements were made to the design by creating an opening allowing the signal to reach the central hub via the football pitches corner posts.
Following several tests and revisions, Football Matcher is ready to test the prototype device in anger and be used in our first smart pitch game. Watch this space.
We are ready for the return of grassroots football.
See you on the pitch!
Guess Writer, Carl McMullen