During mysummer internship at IDEO Boston, my coworkers and I spent a lot of time following the World Cup. Unfortunately, we also had a lot of work to do, which meant that we couldn't watch every game. The FIFA ball is a smart soccer ball and stand that notifies the office every time a goal is scored in a World Cup match. While many people were also getting real-time match updates on their phone, I wanted to create a shared object that brought people together to relive those key moments of the World Cup.
The FIFA ball is made up of two separate components: a microcontroller (Spark Core) and a Sinatra web server that checks for real-time score updates from ESPN and FIFA. Whenever the web server detects a score change, it sends a notification to the Spark Core, which plays back an audio clip of Andrés Cantor reacting to Landon Donovan's famous goal in the 2010 World Cup. The Spark Core, speaker, and electronics are all packaged inside a soccer ball stand made from baltic birch plywood using a ShopBot, bandsaw, and radial sander.