Yes, a South Korean pro baseball team is so bad that it’s filling its empty seats with robots, and those robots are being controlled remotely by fans who can make them cheer or boo. It’s fairly interesting in a sad, Battlebots kind of way, but there are a couple of interesting wrinkles.
Fans of the Hanwha Eagles (current record 30-55) can watch games over the Internet, saving the embarrassment and expense of watching their sad sack team lose once again. But even if the team was good, who wants to pay for parking and expensive snacks, and wait in line for the restroom? Once you go robot, you won’t go back.
But the big story to me is that we almost had hologram soccer: the two concepts were being developed at the same time. As we reported last year, if Japan/South Korea had been awarded hosting duties for the 2022 World Cup, they would have gone ahead with technology that would have provided 3D hologram games. Not only would big games like Brazil vs. Germany be played in several stadiums at once, via 3D hologram, but fans from all over the world could gather at stadiums and arenas for fan fests, in which the hologram games would also be shown.
But they pulled the plug on this project when Qatar was awarded the 2022 Cup — one more reason that FIFA really screwed up on that decision.
South Korea has robot fans, though.
This was especially the case with top football teams, Matt Cutler, editor of SportBusiness International, told the BBC.
“If you look at all the big clubs, you can’t just get a season ticket – you have to sit on a waiting list.
“There is also potential monetisation. You can charge, even if it’s a small amount, to give fans a different kind of viewpoint.”
So you can sit at home and watch the game on your phone, or TV, and control your robot to cheer, or boo. Your face is even projected onto the face of the robot, if you wish.
* Is there robot tailgating?
* Will we one day have a stadium full of robot fans watching a 3D hologram baseball game?
* Robot streakers being chased by hologram security guards?
— Popular Mechanics (@PopMech) July 29, 2014