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Japan plans hologram World Cup in 2022

Not pictured: Holograms

Japan has upped the ante in World Cup bids with their latest ambitious innovation – beaming matches directly onto pitches in stadiums throughout the world.

With FIFA’s decision for the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups due to be made on 2 December 2010, Japan has been receiving a large amount of media attention after announcing their intentions earlier this year.

The £4.5 billion ($6 billion) project led by Japan’s electronic giants, dubbed the “Universal Fan Fest”, would require each match to be filmed by 200 high-definition 3D cameras. As the match takes place the cameras record the action and, at 400 other stadiums across 208 countries, the action would be projected onto the pitch for the fans in those stadiums to watch.

Microphones beneath the pitch would record all of the sound, from the kick of a ball to the referee’s whistle, for the ultimate authentic experience. People would be able to see and hear the match from one of Japan’s World Cup stadiums inside Wembley Stadium, for example. This holodeck-esque proposal could immerse fans like never before. The players and referee would be there on the pitch as holograms.

Solar panels on the roof of the stadium would provide power, but another interesting innovation would be to use the spectators to provide energy for the system. Fans cheering, stomping their feet and jumping would all provide power. They’d surely have to find some way to liven up boring 0-0 games, though, to prevent loss of power. Perhaps we could suggest a multi-ball system?

Director of Technology for the Japanese World Cup Committee Jun Marai said: “You may say the required technology is like a dream and smacks of a sci-fi movie, but it is important to see how technology will evolve within 12 years. I think it will be realised or become usable by around 2016.”

With England solely focused on hosting the 2018 World Cup, Japan’s giant holodeck plan for 2022 shouldn’t hinder the bid to bring the world’s greatest competition back to England for the first time since 1966, so fans torn between home allegiance and science-fiction fantasy need not worry.

If the hologram plans do not materialise, Japan still wants to broadcast the games on giant 3D TV screens inside stadiums around the world. However, the science-fiction geeks amongst us will surely be hoping the proposed holographic football matches become a reality. Besides, TV was so last year. We want holograms!