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Smart NBA jerseys can change player numbers in a flash

I’ve never bothered getting player names printed on the back of my Derby County shirts. Bluntly, the staff turnover at the club is too great to make it – at best – anything less than a high-stakes gamble. But new technology debuted on NBA jerseys could spell the end of that difficulty, as names and numbers can change in a flash before your very eyes.

Here it is being demoed by NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the All-Star Technology summit:

Impressive, then – but you won’t be changing the whole kit, leaving teams breathing a sigh of relief as their annual kit-update business model should remain largely untouched.

Probably slightly more anxious are those who make a fortune printing names and numbers on shirts, but they’ve got plenty of time to figure out how to deal with the change.

The technology could be ready by the 2038 season, apparently, which suggests the demo is either a construction of how something might work one day, or using technology which is just impractical for mass adoption at the moment.

Which of those isn’t clear: no explanation was given as to how this would work, though it’s not science fiction, given flexible e-paper already exists.

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While the ability to change names and numbers on the fly is certainly neat, it’s not what you’d call essential, given players don’t tend to change teams mid-match. That could well mean that it’s real appeal to NBA teams is the ability to turn their players into mobile advertising hoardings, which is still kind of clever, but a far less fan-friendly move then the use case demonstrated in the video.

Does this new technology look exciting or gimmicky? Let us know if you want to see your team embrace it via Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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