Shruti Sagade

21st Oct. 2021


Biting our nails over those dicey out-or-not decisions in cricket, we are all used to the third umpire ruling on decisions related to run outs, fair catches, no-balls as well as Leg Before the Wicket (LBW) decisions. Have you wondered how the ball trajectory is forecasted after impact to check if the ball is hitting the stumps or missing it? Over the years, we have become accustomed to watching our favorite sports in stadiums and/or in our homes over screens, and assuming that certain pieces of technology are available as defaults without getting too deep into the level of sophistication that they entail.

Within the last few years, the world of sports has been transformed by cutting edge technology advancements. These advancements have been adopted by sports organizations, associations and broadcasting companies and every single stakeholder in the ecosystem. Some are using these technologies to improve the fan engagement while others are using them for athletes to analyze and improve their performance.

The Olympics have consistently been an event that athletes all over the world look forward to and invariably put their best foot forward to achieve success. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were no different. It was probably the biggest event after the onset of the pandemic and without the fans and the supporters in the stadium, it could have been a dampener. However, Tokyo 2020 was a great success and was possibly the most hi-tech Olympics to date. These tech innovations deserve to be examined and analyzed.

3D Athlete Tracking (3DAT) by Intel

Intel, the American technology giant brought their 3D Athlete Tracking (3DAT) technology to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for the first time. 3DATs amazing overlay visualizations were seen in some of the track & field events like the 100m and 200m sprints during Tokyo 2020. 3DAT also allows athletes to extract information about their form and motion using a technology that recognizes various parts of the body from the eyes to the ankles & toes to construct a 3D skeleton using which data like acceleration, biomechanics, velocity etc can be measured. All this was possible without having the athletes to wear any special suits or sensors but using ordinary video footage and AI algorithms.

Heart Rate Monitor by Panasonic

World Archery along with the Japanese technology giant Panasonic, setup cameras across the Archery arena to pick-up real-time data associated with the athlete’s skin color, position changes to their pupils and analyze them to derive the heart rate of the archers. The idea was to give the television spectators a sense of stress that the athletes were facing. As viewers on television, we could see an archer’s heart rate jump from the mid 80s to more than 140 before taking a shot. All this created the necessary excitement for the viewer.

Blog Detail
The Robot lineup by Toyota

Toyota has always been on the forefront of high-end technology and their pursuit was in the direction of reducing human effort for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The captivating tech marvel aimed at targeting all manual activities, ensuring limited chaos and smooth functioning in the games. The Field Support Robot, which gathered the most attention, was responsible for collecting javelins, shot puts and such from throwing events. Although that didn’t really yield the equipment (that was still a manual effort), it still reduced the number of staff on the field. The Human Support Robot and Delivery Support Robot were responsible for guiding people to their seats and taking the attendees’ drink/food orders respectively. Toyota managed to knock together the T-HR3 Humanoid which remotely interacted with athletes too! The Mascot Robot welcomed the live viewers to the venue. The genius of Toyota shone bright through the Tokyo Olympics and managed to awe us all!

OBS Cloud by OBS and Alibaba Cloud

OBS Cloud, a meaningful collaboration between Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology of Alibaba Group, was accountable for the distribution of the quality content across various broadcasting channels in a variety of formats to meet the copious needs of media platforms utilized across the world. Tokyo 2020 was broadcasted using high-definition and high-dynamic-range technology which provided authentic detail to reproduce the enthralling events of the day accurately and wholly. OBS was instrumental in ensuring top-end fan engagement.

These tech prodigies earmarked four crucial aspects of conducting, arguably, the largest sporting event in the world amid an ongoing pandemic – athlete performance, maintaining viewership, reducing human contact and manual effort, and successful broadcasting. All this makes us wonder, what more could the future possibly contain? We believe the future lies in unlocking the true potential of sports using technology as the key.

Shruti Sagade - A Former National Level Badminton Player and a Huge Sports Fan



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