Benjamin Hubert designs World Cup wearable technology for aspiring footballers

PLAYR smartpod, by Catapult and LAYER studio
PLAYR smartpod, by Catapult and LAYER studio
(Image credit: layerdesign.com)

Capitalising on World Cup fever, Benjamin Hubert of LAYER studio has made his first foray into football technology, with the world’s first consumer elite fitness tracking wearable. Designed in collaboration with Catapult (global leader in professional performance analytics), the PLAYR system comprises a smart pod, a high performance vest, and an app, bringing a world-class tracking product to a global audience of aspiring football players, for the first time.

It works much like a FitBit, albeit a highly detailed and connected one. The pod (inserted into the vest, which is worn underneath or over a football jersey) communicates with GPS networks and the PLAYR app to track the athlete during training or a game, monitoring distance covered, sprint distance, pitch heat map, and player load. Innovatively, PLAYR has been designed to integrate into both training and match situations, offering real-time statistics to the players and their coaches, who can advise from the sidelines.

Benjamin Hubert of LAYER designs wearable device for footballers

(Image credit: layerdesign.com)

Design-wise, the smart pod is simple and unobtrusive. LEDs communicate the signal strength, battery life, and charging, through the vest, which is woven from advanced high performance textiles. When illuminated, these LEDs reveal a pattern in the reverse of the top surface of the pod to communicate the technological, high-performance nature of the system.

Flashing lights and remote charging gizmos aside, will it actually work? History dictates that it will. The Catapult story began in Australia, when the country’s Olympic team returned from the 1976 Montreal Games without a single gold medal. To avoid repeating this performance, the Australian government created a world-leading academy for the country’s best young athletes. It was here that the founders of Catapult began to measure all facets of performance in an effort to improve sport through evidence based science. They soon developed wearable sensors, and the technology was developed for Australian athletes competing at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Australia won more medals than ever before – a total of 58.

It was LAYER’s job to translate this elite experience and message into a widely accessible product, so they were also commissioned to rethink Catapult’s visual identity, and they took a holistic approach. Hubert and his team focussed on simplifying how Catapult communicates complex information. The logo mark features the same softly angular forms as the PLAYR system to create a unified high performance design language in tune with the mindset of Catapult’s audience.

PLAYR smartpod on the remote charging block

PLAYR smartpod on the remote charging block

(Image credit: layerdesign.com)

SmartCoach App

SmartCoach App

(Image credit: layerdesign.com)

Catapult branding, by LAYER studio

Catapult branding, by LAYER studio

(Image credit: layerdesign.com)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Layer website (opens in new tab)

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.