Tokyo 2020 Olympics inspires hi-tech advancements, says GlobalData

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics ended the way they began but left encouraging memories of technological advancements ranging from service robots to NFT marketplaces. While it has delivered all the pomp and show that is anticipated of the world’s premier sporting event, the event laid the pathway for the world to look at the new normal, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Abhishek Paul Choudhury, Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData comments: “This year’s Olympics were not only technologically advanced in more apparent ways, but also brought the games throughout the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Innovation Explorer database of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center reveals how emerging technologies have made the Tokyo 2020 Olympics one of the most high-tech sporting events ever.

Temperature-controlled wearable tech

Ralph Lauren, the official outfitter of Team USA, has introduced its patented RL COOLING wearable for the team’s flag bearers. It integrates into the wearer’s garment and disperses heat from their skin through a sensor that monitors and regulates temperature. The result is a cooling sensation that can be felt immediately and is long-lasting, even in the most gruesome heat.

Contactless vitals monitoring

Panasonic has presented its sports analysis technology ‘Contactless Vital Sensing’, which calculates an archer’s heart rate by focusing a camera placed 12 meters away from the shooting line on the athlete’s face. Subtle variations in skin color that are not evident to the naked eye get captured in the video for analysis. The signal processing technology is then leveraged to retrieve the heart rate data.

NFT marketplace

The International Olympic Committee has partnered with video game developer nWay to launch a new official marketplace for Olympic-themed digital entertainment experience comprising non-fungible token (NFT) Olympic pins and cross-play multiplayer video games. The digital Olympic pins, as NFTs, will have the same qualities as physical pins, such as authenticity, rarity, and provenance, making them genuine collectors’ treasures.

3D tracking technology

Intel and Alibaba have co-developed an athlete tracking technology for deployment at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond. The technology integrates AI and computer vision to power a deep learning application. This helps to pull 3D forms of athletes in training or competition using existing and future Intel hardware and Alibaba cloud computing technology.

Other highlights included Toyota’s AI-powered service robots, Intel’s mini drones for entertainment and facial recognition system for check-ins, and a broadcasting makeover by Alibaba using cloud technology for the first time.

Mr Paul concludes: “The world is aware of Japan’s technological prowess and the country has once again proven this at this years Olympic games. As the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated, society has progressed to the point where the effects of past events are no longer a reliable predictor of future events, and this mega sporting event provides an opportunity for everyone to make a difference beyond organizing games.”

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