From Rio to Tokyo – Futuristic 2020 Summer Olympics

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The 2016 Rio Olympics successfully concluded on August 21, 2016, with 206 participating nations. Billions of people were inspired and united by the exotic beauty of Rio de Janeiro, for a period of 16 days. The epic closing ceremony will also be fondly remembered for its colorful showcase of Brazilian street carnival and the turnover to Japan for the next Summer Olympics. Lastly, one of its highlights was the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a Super Mario costume and holding a bright red ball.

Wait – Why Japan?

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Japan is known for its technological innovations and retaining its historical value, at the same time. The country is home for several pop-cultures in video gaming, animation and gadget development. On the other hand, it still boasts centuries-old buildings, reflective of its rich past. The Tokyo Olympics Committee sees the 2020 Olympics as the most futuristic of all time. Thankfully, it seems the right host was selected for this ambitious aim. It’s not hard to imagine holographic performers in their kimono while traditional Japanese music plays in the 2020 Summer Olympics opening. Moreover, the nation is not foreign to handling a global-scale event, as it served as host about 50 years ago. That also marks Japan the first Asian country to host the Olympics more than once.

Moreover, Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world, according to Economist Intelligence Unit. Hence, news concerning public safety is the least we should worry about at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Tokyo is also rated high in terms of quality of life. Tourists are treated with utmost respect, while enjoying the Japanese hospitality. The city also serves as the melting pot of technological, historical and cultural proficiency of Japan. The Japanese organizers hope to emulate this in the next Summer Olympics.

The announcement was made way back, in September 07, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, following the vote of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Two other cities, Madrid and Istanbul, also bid for hosting the 2020 Olympics and lost after a series of voting. Consequently, the Japanese government set aside 400 billion yen ($3 billion) for the great event. Several infrastructures will be upgraded, to accommodate for tourists and participants alike. It is estimated that over $18 billion will be spent on this occasion.

What to Expect at the 2020 Summer Olympics?

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Several technological advances were introduced in Summer Olympics. At the 1912 Stockholm Summer Games, electronic stopwatches were used publicly for the first time. Germany also made history with the 1936 Berlin Olympics, when the event was televised in the country. Lastly, Japan itself created a name for itself at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when they introduced the Shinkansen, the world’s first high speed bullet train.

Now that Japan will host the Summer Olympics again, it’s exciting to see what the nation has on its sleeves. Without further ado, this is what we should expect at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Driverless Cars

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Robot Taxi Inc. is currently designing driverless taxis, which will transfer tourists from stadium to stadium. Test drives have already been done last February and March. Residents called a Robot Taxi through a mobile app, to get them to supermarkets and bring them back home. Amazingly, the technology can be retrofitted in any vehicle, as opposed to the semi-autonomous features car companies are giving right now. The company also eyes the ageing population of rural Japan, and aims to help them get to places.

However, Japanese laws dictate a vehicle needs to have a driver to operate it. So, the manufacturers are trying to find a way to make it possible. Finland made a narrow escape from its rules by defining a skilled computer program as driver. Japan takes another route and plans to pass laws regulating self-driving cars next year. Japanese car moguls, Nissan and Toyota, are currently experimenting on cars with autonomy, which are to be released in time for the Olympics. They made Shinkansen possible, they can also turn this one to reality.

Robotic Village

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Japan excels in robotics technology and it plans to manufacture a small army of robots for the opening ceremony. The robots will be placed near airports and hotels, to meet and greet tourists and participants. With the Japanese Government planning to spend triple the amount of what they normally spend on robotics, there will be enough of these to create a mini-village.

There are already existing service robots in Japan. However, the government aims to ramp their production for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Tokyo’s Odaiba neighborhood, for example, will have an adjacent “robot village”. These gizmos are targeted to help guests with directions, translations and transportation choices. They will also be programmed to recommend restaurants or tourist destinations in Tokyo. Japan wishes to create an environment where robots assist people regardless of their age, nationality or status.

A Multi-Lingual Mobile App

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Perhaps due to Japan’s strong sense of nationalism, many people in that country aren’t proficient with English. In that regard, the nation is also currently designing an instant language translation app. The Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology recently designed VoiceTra, which can accommodate up to 27 languages in text. Furthermore, they are also working towards an app that recognizes voices. VoiceTra understands 90% of what the speaker said, but it only works for English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean at the moment. The Japanese government hopes to increase the voice recognition to 10 languages, until 2020.

Panasonic, on the other hand, aims to create a palm-sized gizmo which can be worn as a necklace. Similarly, it can translate up to 10 languages in real-time. Lastly, they also intend to create a smartphone app which scans and translates Japanese signs on the spot.

Man-Made Meteor Showers

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If this vision is implemented, the 2020 Olympic Games might have the most grandiose opening ever. The project commenced last March, 2016, and it was launched by Professor Lena Okajima. Star-ALE is already conducting test experiments, in laboratories where atmospheric re-entry is simulated. They are planning to launch the first set of microsatellites in late 2017, from which they will shoot spheres.

These will not only resemble meteors, but are also designed to emit different colors by using various chemical elements. These have the brightness of 3.0 magnitude stars and are visible in the night sky. They envision to mimic meteor showers that are rare in nature. The display will be visible on a 100-kilometer radius, just enough for the whole Tokyo to see these epic space fireworks. If we thought fireworks are spectacular, this meteor shower display will sure leave us breathless.

As for the debris falling on the ground, NASA claims it will be burned right away – akin to particles re-entering our atmosphere.

It seems like the Olympic spirit is never meant to die. What else do you expect to see at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics?

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