Mobile device mesh network created using Bluetooth for football fans

To demonstrate the undisputed brotherly love between Celtic and Rangers football fans, developers in Glasgow have created an application to allow them to banter and exchange messages in real-time without using up their credit.

The application uses the short wave frequency protocol to allow football fans in a stadium, for example, to share information and experiences.

With Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding, the programs enable a fan’s phone to connect with up to seven other users at the same time, without using mobile phone masts.

The programs, claim the developers, are the first to enable recent advances in ad hoc networking to be applied to phone-based end-user applications. Currently, the application is available for download on the iPhone.

The research combined the expertise of computer scientists and sociologists. They are currently three months into a year-long research study working with 15 football fans to observe how they use the technology in and around matches, and obtaining input from them for changes and additions to the technology design.

“Chat and banter need to be immediate,” said Dr Matthew Chalmers, who is leading the project.

“If a disputed goal is scored or a yellow card awarded, you want to hear what others have to say about it straight away, from their vantage point in the stadium. Direct mobile-to-mobile communication can make this possible.

“It’s really about extending a Social Networking philosophy to sports stadia and giving spectators a richer experience by making them feel better connected with each other,” added Chalmers.

The developers believe, in the long-term, mobile-to-mobile communications could play an important role in assisting emergency healthcare, by allowing people at an accident scene to communicate with each other even in areas remote from a mobile phone mast.

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