And you thought the Miami Marlins were bad.
In South Korea, a long-suffering baseball team is using robots to liven up its atmosphere. In the absence of real fans, the Hanwha Eagles have created an entire section of robot fans who can cheer, hold up signs and even perform “The Wave.”
The robots can be programmed remotely by fans from home. Fans can then project their face onto a robot and control some of the machine’s movements from the comfort of their own couch, all while (presumably) watching the game on TV. They can also watch online or on their mobile phones, and cheer through online commenting on social media sites like Facebook.
Fans can coordinate with other fans to hold up their robot’s digital signs, and coordinate group cheers.
“The signs out there out in the outfield, it’s a pretty neat idea. It gets the crowd into it and really helps them get involved,” pitcher Andrew Albers said in a video showing off the robots.
The idea was apparently born out of necessity, as the team has lost more than 400 games in the past 5 seasons in Korean Major League Baseball, and attendance had been scarce.
Check out their promotional video on the robot fans:
One thing is for sure: the Hanwha Eagles aren’t losing because they have a dumb owner, or a behind-the-times front office. And soon, robots may take on an even greater role in sporting activity. As athletes.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that he would like to see a Robot Olympics when the games come to Tokyo in 2020.