In the Autumn of 1995, ex miner, salesman and businessman Pete Oliver from Wigan invented the world’s first interactive wall for sports training and gaming. The product originally named “SoccerSquash” aimed to harness sports and present them in a controlled and accessible manner.
Pete, who admits to having no technical skills but has a logical mind used this to design and developed the whole concept, even envisaging in his mind video tracking being sure it would be available somewhere. He then enlisted professional help to bring it to life and was introduced to Dr Kevin Doughty of North Wales with his guidance a fully working prototype was developed and a patent was granted. The invention was also one of five winners of an annual Smart Award in Wales. This gained a £25,000 grant used by Pete and his team to partially fund the prototype.
SoccerSquash being tested in 1995
When he was 12 Pete’s father a mining engineer took his family to Doncaster and it was there the inspiration for the main football game, called Spot ON, came from. Pete and his classmates played it with a certain person named Kevin Keegan usually winning. Whatever happened to him?
Unfortunately, after years of trying to make SoccerSquash a commercially viable proposition Pete was unable to gain traction with his new technology. Pete comments “Inventing it was easy for me, but it was hard to garner interest to commercialise it. It seemed no one had vision to think the whole interactive technology thing would catch on and didn’t see the need for it. Whereas now interactive and touch technology is commonplace within the home and in everyday life”
Now fast forward 24 years, and Yorkshire based Fired Up Technologies are moving forward with supplying interactive wall technology to the UK market in the form of Ludus Interactive. Ludus Interactive is a technology product development company who specialise in offering a range of interactive technologies all aimed at encouraging people to be more physically active through using interactive gaming technology.
Daniel Edley from Fired Up Technologies explains the importance of this technology “In today’s society interactive touch technology is native for lots of people and therefore combining it with gaming to create a gateway for participation in physical activity is the way forward. Peter saw this over 20 years ago which is pretty impressive to say that interactive touch was not usual in everyday life”
Ludus Interactive LED Wall in situ at BBC Festival of Sport, Aberdeen 2019
After days of searching, the Fired-Up Technologies team was able to track down Pete Oliver as the individual responsible for creating the first iteration of interactive wall technology and meet with the man they claim was able to see into the future.
Dan Edley of Fired Up Technologies meets inventor Peter Oliver