Dutch manager Louis van Gaal to use Google Glass and Oculus Rift to help team at World Cup

In a bid to improve their chances at the upcoming football World Cup, the Dutch national team, who are ranked 15th in the world, are using Google Glass and Oculus Rift headsets to improve their performances.

The team, who are managed Louis van Gaal, will be able to re-live situations in virtual-reality, while coaching staff will be able to see static information as they use the technology during the build-up to the competition.

Google Glass recordings will allow Vann Gaal, who is hotly tipped to take over the manager’s job at Manchester United, and his deputies to have an insight into each player’s movements and other actions on the pitch.

It could allow them to see which players are being the most effective and substitute those that aren’t pulling their weight.

The team will also be using the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift virtual reality headset where they can re-live simulations of a game or training situations.

This will include being able to look back at specific actions and experience it from a different perspective – which may be beneficial after the county’s first game of the tournament, which sees them up against reigning champions Spain.

If the technology proves useful to the team, who are outsiders for the competition, then Van Gaal could potentially bring the tech to the training ground when he takes over at Manchester United.

However the Dutch boss won’t be the first in football to use Glass as a coaching device.

Athletico Madrid’s assistant coach German Burgos was posted using the glasses with an application in a match at the beginning of April.

The app which is being used has been built alongside with Spanish footballing authorities.

It shows managers who decide to use it real-time statistics so they are able to monitor their team and the opposition during a match.

Screen shots of the app released by the top-flight Spanish league ‘La Liga’ appear to show the app presenting stats on possession, passes, shots, the number of bookings and more.

Max Reckers KNVB Google Glass

Max Reckers the chief analyst at the Dutch football authority, KNVB, praised the technology and said it will hopefully help the national team at the World Cup.

“Louis van Gaal is known for his progressive approach. That mindset allows us to go further than other teams,” he said. “The deployment of Google Glass and Oculus Rift give us that desired lead.”

The Dutch team’s integration with the technology has been developed technology company Triple IT.

Commercial director Ben van der Burg said it will help players to learn from their mistakes faster.

Images courtesy of Triple IT 

Capturing Pre-Criminals: Big Data Set to Make Minority Report a Reality

Big data could eventually result in would-be criminals being caught before they commit a crime, according to Kenneth Cukier, data editor of The Economist.

Cukier, who was speaking yesterday as part of the London arm of Big Data Week, said: “We’ll have algorithms that can predict behaviour and mean we could be punished before committing a crime.”

The suggestion is highly reminiscent of the Tom Cruise film Minority Report, which is based on the Philip K Dick story of the same name. In the film, a specialised PreCrime department uses foreknowledge provided by psychics to catch criminals before they break the law.

Big data is already in use in some police forces. Los Angeles police made the headlines in 2012 for using a crime prediction algorithm to indentify likely crime hotspots and arrive before the criminals, which resulted in a 25% drop in thefts.


Cukier believes that this is just one aspect big data’s future role in our lives.

“We are just at the beginning,” he said. “It is going to invade all aspects of human endeavour and that’s a good thing.”

Big data is already unlocking knowledge about everything from voting patterns to cancer diagnosis, and has the potential to provide remarkable levels of detail about human behaviour.  It could eventually provide a level of knowledge about us that would have previously only been thought possible with psychic abilities.

However, for some big data represents a threat. In particular it raises serious privacy concerns both from a data collection point of view and in terms of behaviour prediction.

Even the crime-catching technology would raise significant moral concerns should it come to fruition, as it would raise the issue of how pre-criminals would be punished given that they have not actually committed a crime.

Cukier likened big data to nuclear technology, in that it has both beneficial and damaging applications.

“I think there are thousands of ways big data could inflict incredible harm on society,” he said, adding that the big data industry needed to “keep going” with the technology despite the likely problems.


Recent news that Google Flu Trends overestimated the illness’ prevalence by half has led some to question the usefulness of big data.

However Cukier believes that the press’ “decimation” of big data over the news is largely unfounded.

He explained how the data it was compared to is just for visits to health clinics, which means flu suffers who stayed at home would not have been counted.

Given that many people may have avoided a clinic trip due to a lack of health insurance, a lack of transport or simply the desire to stay in bed, this could equate to a huge number of people.

“It’s possible – not totally likely, I’ll admit – that the Google searches were a better indicator of flu than the official data,” said Cukier.

First body image courtesy of Predpol. All others screenshots from Minority Report.