The closing ceremony in Rio is only four days away. The first two weeks of the Summer Olympics Games have seen familiar faces dominate the podiums, but a slew of new technological stars have captured some glory in Brazil.
Now it’s time to look ahead to Tokyo 2020, and predict what advancements athletes and fans can expect to enjoy. But before we do, let’s have a quick overview of tech in Rio.
NBC Universal has broadcast and live streamed practically every second of competition, some of which has been distributed in virtual reality and 4K Ultra HD. They have made a huge push on social media, across an array of platforms, making Rio an extremely interactive Olympics.
Getty Images implemented robotic cameras to shoot swimming, diving and other aquatic sports more dynamically than ever. Swimmers utilized underwater LED lap counters and custom built caps, based on 3D head scans, to help capture gold. Nike athletes on the track, hardwood and pitch have taken advantage of some 3D printed and tech-enhanced gear, uniforms and footwear.
The IOC partnered with Genius Sports to help intricately track and report irregularities in results, to help thwart contests from being intentionally thrown due to the huge amount of gambling on the games.
However, this is just a start of recapping all the noteworthy technology at Rio 2016.
Tokyo accepted their bid in 2013, and since then they have been preparing to make 2020 a technological showcase. The last time the most populated metropolitan area in the world hosted the Summer Olympics Games was 1964. Nine days prior to that opening ceremony Japan introduced the Shinkansen bullet train. More than half a century later they plan on unveiling the world’s fastest Maglev Train, for public use, by 2020.
Sony already began experimenting with 8K HD in Rio, but the technology is far too expensive today. Four years from now a wide range of other camera and television manufactures should have no problem offering the resolution that has 16 times more pixels than NBC’s current Rio HD coverage.
The VR experience has been limited to replays and next day highlights, for an even more limited number of sports. Only the men’s basketball semifinals and medal games will be live (and a limited amount of fencing). VR technology is hardly accessible to the average consumer today. But considering VR’s proliferation in the last year alone, more fans than ever are guaranteed to experience more immersive action from Tokyo. As camera technology becomes more lightweight it is not inconceivable to think athletes will be fitted with POV cameras during the games, to further enhance the viewing experience.
NBC will not have the luxury of broadcasting and live streaming so many events live in primetime since Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. This will certainly not prevent them from streaming every second of the 2020 games. The time change will likely give them more room to experiment with their coverage on an array of platforms, some of which don’t even exist today.
Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, Puma and other sportswear companies are sure to turn heads with 3D printed uniforms and shoes. More sleek, aerodynamic and lightweight gear will help Olympians try to break records. Maybe Nike will finally be able to utilize their new bib technology, so the fastest sprinters and high flying gymnasts never have to wear clipped on paper bibs again.
As athletes prepare for, and eventually compete at Tokyo 2020, the wearable training and recovery technology will be so advanced that the tracking and timing technology will have to be more precise than ever.
The new Olympic Channel will be pumping out year-round event and athlete coverage to get more fans excited about the games. 2020 will see softball and baseball return to the Olympics and fans can be sure the litany of batting technologies will be on site.
Approved by @Olympics! Baseball/Softball, Karate, Skateboarding, Sport Climbing & Surfing are part of #Tokyo2020! pic.twitter.com/xgG2KXP6cQ
— Tokyo 2020 (@Tokyo2020) August 3, 2016
Tokyo will host skateboarding and surfing for the first time ever as well. Big wave fans could see Samsung’s Galaxy Surfboard in action.
Based on the technological advancements from London 2012, to Rio, it will be no surprise if Tokyo looks like something out of a science fiction movie. There are already reports about a “robot village” located near the Olympic Village. Self-driving taxis and an instant language translating wearables, will transport locals, visitors and athletes far into the future.
Tokyo 2020 is officially less than four years away. The first taste will be the opening ceremony, which is rumored to include a man-made meteor shower. One of the worlds most tech savvy nations, and its capitol are planing on making 2020 a technological spectacle.