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Technology At The Olympics

August 6, 2021

It’s unfortunate that spectators weren’t allowed to attend the Olympics in person to cheer on their favorite athletes. If spectators were allowed, they’d not only have witnessed incredible competitions, but they’d have also experienced some of the newest technologies in the world. Check out some of the innovative technologies that helped keep the Olympics running smoothly.

Drones
Drones have come a long way from when they were first introduced to the world. Over 1,800 drones flew high above the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo during the Opening Ceremony to form a globe in which the entire city—it seemed—could see. Although drones have been used in other Olympic Games, this might be one of the most spectacular and amazing drone shows in the history of the Olympic Games.

Courtesy of IOC

Driverless e-Palette
Electric vehicles that resemble small buses called e-Palettes transported athletes from destination to destination. While these could technically run driverless, a driver was in each vehicle to ensure that they didn’t accidentally run off course. Transportation of the future? We think so.

A Robot Here, A Robot There
Robots have come quite a long way from when they were first invented in the 1950s, and the Tokyo Olympics was a place to showcase what robots are capable of doing now. From welcome robots to field robots, everybody had a job to do.

Courtesy of Tokyo 2020

Welcome Robots
Olympic mascot Miraitowa and Paralympic mascot Someity were transformed into robots by Toyota Motors to serve a big role: public ambassadors of the Tokyo Olympic Games! A big job—we know! While spectators didn’t get the chance to shake hands with the adorable robots, athletes did. What else did Miraitowa and Someity robots do to impress those walking by? Well, thanks to the nifty cameras mounted on their foreheads, the robots could recognize people and do things, like wink at them. Konnichiwa (that’s “hello” in Japanese) to you too, Miraitowa and Someity!

Credit: Toyota Motor Corporation

Field Support Robots
Robots have also served as field support staff by retrieving sports equipment, such as javelins, during competitions. How do these mobile robots perform such tasks? They’re fitted with an automatic driving system, which allows them to self-navigate and even guide people around paths to avoid any collisions and other obstacles. Helpful, right? Certainly because the more these robots can do, the less human power is needed to support an event as large as the Olympics! Thanks for your work, field support robots!

Virtual Mobility Robots
Virtual Mobility Robots make it much easier for those who are physically unable to attend Games-related events in person. The T-TRI robot, which was used at the Olympics, allowed people to feel like they were a part of events without actually having to physically be there. The T-TRI rides around on wheels and is equipped with a camera and a life-sized display screen.