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AI Case Study

AKQA creates a new sports game using neural networks

Design agency AKQA trained a neural network on data from 400 popular sports around the world as part of a project for Design week. The system came up with a new game, Speedgate, a six players ball game on a field with three gates, which incorporates elements of croquet, rugby and soccer.


Project Overview

"Introduced by design agency AKQA as a project for Design Week, Speedgate is reportedly the first sport to be conceived by artificial intelligence (AI). It merges concepts from croquet, rugby and soccer, with six-player teams kicking a ball around a field with three gates.

Data from 400 popular sports around the world was fed into a neural network, and then crunched to create a basic framework of rules and concepts. A large number of the suggestions weren’t exactly realistic (exploding frisbees, anyone?), but Speedgate emerged as the top choice after the company test-played the leading contenders.

Luckily, the rules seem more understandable than the game’s moto, which the AI also came up with – ‘face the ball to be the ball to be above the ball’.

The company was looking for a game that was easy to learn, broadly accessible and gave players a good work out.

The Speedgate field has three pairs of six foot (1.8 m) high posts, one at either end and one in the middle. Players must pass a rugby ball through the centre posts to gain possession and can then score by getting the ball between the end posts from either direction. Teammates that catch the scoring ball and immediately kick it back through the posts convert the goal from two points to three.

The game is played in three seven-minute intervals, with three defenders and three forwards playing on each team. The ball can be passed or kicked, but cannot remain still for more than three seconds."

Reported Results




"From wearable health and training devices to goal line assistance in football, technology has been invading the sporting field for some years. Whether by helping the athletes up their game, catching rule infringements, or improving safety, this tech has largely all fallen within the same broad aim of improving game play.

But what would happen if we used technology not to police the rules but to create them? Enter Speedgate."



"Data from 400 popular sports around the world"

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