#This Drone Referee hovers above the football and players, serving as an airborne VAR

The most beautiful game, football, is a team sport. But in realism – at the world stage – the game is not limited to the field and teams. Passionate fans and their diehard enthusiasm for clubs and players take the game far and beyond, into the people’s home and their hearts. Despite the love and admiration for football, one wrong on-field decision can leave players behaving irrationally and discerning fans indulging in brawls, intense enough to set stadiums on fire.

Over the years goal-line technology has made a significant difference in the decision-making often faltered by the human eye. Yet, all the other significant on-field decisions are left for humans to make, which even the most qualified and experienced referees can get wrong from time to time. While replacing human intervention from decision-making is visually impossible in the near future; there is a designer who thinks an aerial observer can pull off the task at the amateur level to start with.

Designer: Seungmin Ha

The idea behind “Referee,” a portable drone football referee is as simple as its design: Take to the air, hover above and track the players and the ball, and sound a whistle when a foul occurs. Designed with a Samsung-backed Design Membership program, the two-part system – a drone with rotors and HD camera – moves fluidly around the ball so that there are no blind spots and decisions are spot on. There is no mention of whether the modern Referee will also issue red card for a cardinal foul, or a human ref would still be needed.

The functioning of the Referee is simple to pull off, and the design – modeled after a training cone – makes it even more interesting. It comes packed in a dedicated trolley bag one can tag along to the field and set it to run the game without having to find a human referee to help you with a night game with friends. Since most hobby footballers have time to play in the night hours, after a day’s work, Seungmin has envisioned a Referee with LED lighting that shines along with the whistle when a foul is detected.

To keep the control simple and the design more intriguing, the Referee is controllable via an app. Through the app, you can customize the device’s color to the team that you are playing and also replay the foul scene to make sure close decisions can be fairly dealt with. Potentially a gimmick at the moment, the Referee through its evolution can maybe reach the Premier League stage someday.


Gaurav Sood

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