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Fly oracle for the Women's Football World Cup 2011

Paul the Octopus is dead and his successor isn't yet ready to bestow prophecies1.
But fortunately the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has offered itself up as the new invertebrate oracle for football matches.
Full of optimism, we have developed a new way to predict the exact outcome of matches using flies.

Of the 32 matches 2 were predicted absolutely correctly, 8 almost correctly and 22 incorrectly.

Here are the latest prophecies:

Please click here for a complete list of the matches already predicted.

Match 31, 16.7. PredictionResult
0:1 2:1
Click here to watch the complete prediction as a video
Match 32, 17.7. PredictionResult
1:0 3:1
Click here to watch the complete prediction as a video
Please click here for a complete list of the matches already predicted.

How does the Oracle work?

The fly runs on a "Buchner-ball"2 within an artificial arena with two virtual goals, represented by the flags of the countries of the two teams. The movement of the ball is registered, and from these data the intended movement of the fly is calculated. Subsequently, the panorama of the virtual arena is moved and scaled according to the position of the fly. If the fly reaches one of the two goals, this is counted as a successful shot on the goal. To better replicate to the natural conditions inside a football stadium, the influence of the 12th woman or man, i.e. the fans, is also taken into account. If the match is in danger of becoming too dreary, the fly is motivated by gently heating it. There are two half-times during each prediction, the teams swap their positions for the second half-time.

This is what the setup of the Oracle looks like:

A screenshot of the oftware:

Video of the movement of a fly within the arena: Track of the digitised movement during a prediction:
Please note that these videos were recorded during test runs and do not correspond to real predictions of matches during the actual World Cup.
Where is the Oracle located and who's behind all of this?

The Oracle is based in a lab of the Martin Heisenberg group3 in the Rudolf Virchow Centre, DFG research centre for experimental biomedicine4, at the University of Würzburg5 in Germany.
Idea, development and predictions are the work of Sebastian König3, additional ideas and presentation by Till Andlauer6.
Click here for contact information.

All images of flags as well as the grass come from Wikipedia and are public domain.
The flies orginate from Sarefo.

  2. Buchner E, Götz KG, Straub C (1978): Elementary detectors for vertical movement in the visual system of Drosophila. Biol Cybern. 31(4):235-42.