Tech Wins Gold: A Look at The Best Tech Used in Tokyo Olympics 2020


Communucated Content – The Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics has been like no other. Not only has the pandemic delayed the entire sporting event by a year, but it was also to blame for empty stadiums with no spectators. However, as countries competed against one another in the battle to win gold, technology was the biggest winner at this year’s Olympics.


(Image Source: Yahoo Sports)


Aside from the technology used for the games, the Olympic broadcast service was expected to produce an astonishing amount of content, more than 9,500 hours of footage using over 1,000 camera systems and 3,600 microphones. 


With credit to the innovators of Olympic technology, the Tokyo Olympics has been one of the most tech-heavy Olympic games played with sustainability in mind. The use of technology at the games ranged from a light show by drones to smart sport glasses to measure performance biometrics as well as 3D immersive broadcasting enhancements.


Not only have the games been brilliant, but Tokyo has also served up some awe-inspiring tech making the games sustainable and futuristic with their innovations. Here’s a look at some of the tech used, making it the most high-tech sporting event to date. 


Drone light show by Intel


With an opening ceremony like no other, we saw the introduction of technology right from the onset of the Olympics as Intel lit up the Tokyo sky with a light show. Titled ‘Stronger Together, Intels display had a lot of heart and meaning to it as its fleet of 1,824 premium drones took to the skies. 


Synchronizing into shapes and the Tokyo Olympic logo, the drones created a spectacular opening. The drones weigh less than three-quarters of a pound and are equipped with bright coloured LED lights. They also connect to a kinematic GPS in real-time, which allows them to accurately create complex 3D animations and displays with positional accuracy. 


Service Robots by Toyota 


The Olympics games have highlighted the usefulness of robots in significant events with the pandemic in mind. The Tokyo 2020 robot project mission led by Toyota saw support robots deployed in the 44-hector Olympic village welcoming athletes, in which there were more than 11,000 and small amounts of spectators. 


The robots were also able to carry out tasks and facilitate 360-degree camera technology to help deliver an immersive experience of the games, which simply would not be possible for humans to do. The attraction for robots after the pandemic has expanded more and offer a solution to preventing contact between humans. 


The robots built by Toyota had AI-powered self-driving capabilities and were equipped with sensors and cameras to help them determine optimal paths for retrieving a thrown javelin. The robots were also able to give staff guidance, offering help on where to avoid obstacles, making the games more efficient. There were also self-driving electric vehicles deployed to get athletes and organizations around the village, seating up to 20 people with large doors and electric ramps for easy access.


3D athlete tracking by Intel


Intel has brought to the Tokyo Olympic some cutting-edge technology thanks to a long term partnership it holds with the Olympics in general. One of the most exciting and most significant innovations of the Tokyo 2020 games has been its 3D Athlete Tracking (3DAT). The new tech enables viewers to experience the games in a completely new way by presenting overlaid visualizations during some track and field games. 


(AI-powered overlay show visual data and metrics of athletes: Intel Newsroom)


The tech uses artificial intelligence and computer vision which run on Intel’s Xeon processors, to rapidly extract, analyze and provide performance data inducing running speeds at multiple points of the race. One of the most significant advantages of using this type of technology is that, because it uses standard video data, the need for specialist suites with sensors is eliminated altogether. 




Single-use products are among the most damaging to our planet. As we progress, it’s essential to consider the actions of today and how they can affect our tomorrow, especially as the Olympic village is only made for a sole purpose with very little use after. The Tokyo Olympics have considered sustainability and have made some new innovative changes, and here’s a look at a few.


Olympic village cardboard beds 


Many athletes arriving at the Tokyo Olympics were astonished to find their beds were made of cardboard bed frames. However, the frames were Tokyo’s way of making the games sustainable. Once the games were over, the frames could be easily recycled into other products and carry on down the lifestyle rather than using materials that would lead to single-use waste. In addition, the frames were very sturdy and could hold up to 200kg in weight. 


The Tokyo Organising committee estimated that the games would generate 2.73 million tons of carbon, which was trimmed down by 12% to 340,000 as there were no spectators. 


Recycled Olympic medals 


The Tokyo gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals and Paralympic mandalas have all been produced from small recycled electronics. Over two years, Tokyo launched the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project whereby they collected 78,985 tons of used and unwanted electronic devices, which included 6.21 million smartphones from across Japan, which helped produce 5,000 Olympic medals. 


(Design of recycled Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals: Olympics)


The medals were made from elements of the recycled electronics through a process called smelting which involves heating and melting the devices to extract a metal base. Setting the standard high, the Tokyo Olympics have been the first time in Olympic history that medals have been made out of recycled materials.


The Olympic Torch


Tokyo’s Olympic torch is the first-ever emissions-free torch powered by hydrogen gas. The flower-like cauldron has made history for a fundamental reason. Its fire is produced by burning hydrogen, which emits zero carbon emissions and has no colour change. 


Many of the previous Olympic flames have used propane and magnesium, olive oil and resin to stay lit. The eco-friendly approach by Tokyo used hydrogen supplied by a Fukushima factory that was operating on renewable energy.  


The Tokyo Olympics have made history for several reasons. Not only have they been memorable in the games that have been played, but they have made strides in the innovative technology that has been used, with a keen eye on their sustainability approach, creating big shoes for Paris Olympics 2024 to fill. 

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