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BCS National Championship Fans Use RFID to 'Kinect' to Social Networks

The Kinect-based game tests participants' ability to throw, dodge and run like a pro football player, and utilizes radio frequency identification to share the results with friends on Facebook or Twitter.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 18, 2012Spectators at this year's BCS National Championship, the final game in the Bowl Championship Series that begins with the Rose Bowl, were able to test their ability to throw, dodge and run like a professional football player, as well as share the results of their performances online via social networks, by employing RFID technology. The system was developed by marketing services firms Team Epic and Brightline Interactive, using RFID-enabled bracelets and readers provided by Fish Technologies. The companies have developed similar gesture-based applications for the U.S. Army, as well as for the Sports Illustrated (SI) Heisman Tour, a series of 10 college football games.

Team Epic has been working on digital interactive functionality that, according to Doug Lowry, the company's IT consultant, "gets the consumer involved at our onsite activations." The idea, he explains, is to transform ticket holders from mere spectators to event participants, allowing them to play games and then let friends and family members know what they are doing.

Players of the AT&T Combine Challenge wore RFID wristbands to identify themselves.

In 2010, Lowry says, Brightline Interactive developed a trivia game enabling sports fans to take on college football trivia, by using touch screens to select answers to game-related questions. Team Epic offered the solution at that year's Heisman Tour. "Along with the trivia games," he states, "we had touch screens installed onsite, where consumers can browse through archived SI imagery of their local college football team, enter into the SI Nissan sweepstakes, and browse Web sites that SI and Nissan wanted to promote."

For 2011, the company wanted to "step it up," and Brightline Interactive worked with Team Epic to develop custom Kinect video games (which feature a motion-sensing input device from Microsoft), in which participants would throw balls, run and dodge oncoming tackles digitally, and view their performance on screen. The technology utilized motion-sensing functionality, with Kinect hardware and software enabling players to use gestures to prompt actions on a digital screen. The participants could also play trivia games, either on the touch screen provided or on iPads, while each individual's results would be displayed on a large LED screen filling the adjacent wall.

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