Olympic robbery? Olympic calendar full of robots, AI, VR and more

In addition to the most important athletic competition, the four-year event also showcases various cutting-edge technologies, which follow the tradition of Olympic innovation.

Image: Toyota

After being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the programming for the 2020 Olympics is in full swing, albeit without spectators in the stands. In addition to having the top athletic competition from nations around the world, the four-year event also showcases several cutting-edge innovations ranging from robotics and artificial intelligence to virtual reality training solutions, following a tradition in the history of Olympic technological innovation.

“The Olympics have always been a catalyst and a showcase for innovation, and when Tokyo last hosted the event in 1964, it saw satellites broadcast live images to a global audience for the first time, as well as the debuts of pickup microphones and slow-motion replays, ”reads part of an Olympic blog post.

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2020 Olympics: Robots support field officials

Historically, humans have traditionally located, chased, and grabbed game balls during Olympic competitions. But in the 2020 games, viewers can spot some robots retrieving these spheres and other equipment during the game. This year, Toyota has developed a series of “Field Support Robots” (FSRs) designed to “recover sports equipment quickly and safely on the playing field, lightening the load on operating personnel,” according to the Olympics publication.

But these devices can get and recover more than standard spherical sports balls. According to a post from the Olympics published in March, these standalone boats can help “recover the puck or javelin at the throwing events” and “bring the rugby ball to the [center] of the field before the start “.

The robots have a top speed of 20 kilometers per hour (12.4 mph) and have an AI-enabled camera to detect humans and a separate sensor “uses light reflected from a laser beam to calculate distance and angle between an obstacle “.


Image: Olympics

Olympic basketball boots

Toyota’s humanoid basketball player with AI technology, CUE, may not be a known name, but the robot is a wooden legend in itself. In 2019, the robot made history when it achieved the Guinness World Record for “most consecutive free-throw shots of a humanoid (assisted) robot,” according to Toyota.


Image: Toyota

Originally, the team set its desired consecutive shooting target at 2,020 shots “in support of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games” and the robot reached that milestone after doing more than six and a half hours. During the 2020 Olympics, the bot was seen showing off his skills on the free throw line; a free kick taken just before a commercial break even got a “boom shakalaka“by one of the Olympic commentators.

The robots are throwing free against the #TokyoOlympics.

Automatic. pic.twitter.com/AUoc6zSj4N

– #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 25, 2021

Autonomous electric shuttles

The 2020 Olympics have also featured a number of autonomous vehicles designed for athletes with drivers from the Olympic Village. Toyota originally planned to deploy about 200 electric vehicles known as the Accessible People Mover (APM) to “transport athletes, staff and visitors with accessibility needs through the venues.” Each of the electric APMs has a unique charging range of 100 kilometers and can carry up to five passengers.


Image: Toyota

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VR Olympic training

In collaboration with the International Olympic Committee, Intel has designed a virtual reality Olympic training platform to “provide an immersive learning experience for key administrators in competition venues” that creates “a realistic experience and provide feedback accurate individual “to improve training, according to an Olympic Games publication. In general, the system includes digital twins from Olympic competition zones.

“This pilot initiative, tested for the first time in Tokyo, will help make operational training for future Games more effective and profitable,” the message states.

Facial recognition increases security

The 2020 Olympics also include facial recognition features to improve safety in competition venues. An initiative involving Panasonic, Atos and NEC uses facial recognition to “identify athletes, volunteers, media and accredited officers at each security checkpoint,” according to the Olympics post, adding that this technology will have a key role as part of the Tokyo 2020 COVID -19 countermeasures “.

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