The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is doing all that it can to incorporate Japan’s heritage of technology. Toyota is the official Olympic partner and is leading this cause with its Tokyo 2020 Robot Project. According to the Tokyo 2020 Robot Project, robots will be the highlight of the Olympics featuring special-use bots that will be assisting during events.
These robots are known as Field Support Robots (FSR) and will be responsible for carrying javelins, shot-puts, and other items that can be thrown by athletes. Toyota is hopeful that with its Tokyo 2020 Robotic Project, it will be able to reduce the time it takes to retrieve the items while also reducing the workload that the official support teams are subjugated to during the events.
Nobuhiko Koga, Chief Officer of Toyota’s Frontier Research Center, said, ‘As we transform into a mobility company, we are expanding our robotics efforts to provide all people with the freedom to move. Mobility for all’ is not only the ‘physical’ movement of a person or thing from one location to another, but also includes ‘virtual’ mobility of a person. This provides further opportunities to experience new things, meet and interact with others, or to be ‘moved’ emotionally. At Tokyo 2020, we want to capture the imagination of spectators by providing support robots as we do our part to make the Games a success.’
Other than the FSRs, visitors to the Olympics will also be able to witness a myriad of other robots. Miraitowa and Someity are robot mascots that will feature cameras along with facial recognition technology. According to Toyota, each mascot ‘can recognize people nearby, and once recognized, use its eyes to respond with/show a variety of expressions.’ Robots that are a part of the Tokyo 2020 Robot Project will also enable fans to meet their favorite athletes, in a way.
T-HR3 robots are humanoid robots whose bodies will be remotely controlled by humans, and they will be able to reproduce the visuals and audio from the events that the visitors were not able to make it to owing to the rush. Anyone using a T-HR3 will ‘be able to experience the power of movement and force-feedback, allowing them to converse with and high-five athletes and others, feeling as if they were truly physically present.’
Another robot is the T-TR1 that will via ‘projecting an image of a user from a remote location, the robot will help that person feel more physically present at the robot’s location and will enable the people physically unable to attend the events such as the Games a chance to virtually attend, with an on-screen presence capable of conversation between the two locations’, says Toyota. Robotic butlers will also be the part of Tokyo 2020 Robot Project in the form of Human Support Robots (HSRs) and Delivery Support Robots (DSRs).