Pepsi Helps Blind People ‘Visualize’ Football with the ‘The Sound of Football’ Project

Nearly two years ago Pepsi launched its groundbreaking initiative Pepsi Refresh Project to support emerging social projects with grants, ‘refreshing’ the world—the initiative, which was started in the U.S. has extended to Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America in 2011. With this program, the brand deepens its social involvement greatly—with each of the ideas funded by it across the globe, the iconic carbonated drink is continuing to develop life-changing concepts that help impossible things happen. One of the latest projects sponsored by the brand is ‘The Sound of Football’ realized by Åkestam Holst and Society 46 to provide give visually impaired people with an opportunity to ‘see’ the game though sounds.

The team behind the Sound of Football project from Sweden arranged a football match between visually impaired players and former professional footballers to see how, using the new technology and gadget, the team with vision difficulties can perform under equal conditions. It uses sounds to indicate where exactly the other players on the pitch are at the moment through the tracking technology, the same used at the latest FIFA World Cup. It seems to be extremely complicated, but on the website the team of developers explains how it works.

What we have is a tracking system with 16 cameras covering the entire pitch. We can get the position of each player in real time. This information is then fed into an iPhone placed on each player’s head and converted into surround sound. [Through headphones] each player can hear what’s happening and get a sense of distance between things,” says Ellen Sundh, creative technologist at Society 46.

Now the creative team is looking for new ideas of how to apply this technology to enhance gaming experience of visually impaired athletes in other kinds of sports like skiing and, maybe, even consumer experience.


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