It’s no surprise that the robot capital of the world intends to incorporate as many androids as possible for when it hosts the fast approaching Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The organising committee of the Games has recently unveiled four new robots to be utilised for the duration of the event. The robots, developed by Toyota, are designed to assist visitors and spectators as well as athletes on the field.
These cutesy droids are the mascots of the 2020 Olympic Games and can make a variety of facial expressions as they greet athletes and guests by shaking hands. The friendly bots, Miraitowa and Someity, can currently react to passersby and wave to them, but Toyota is working on ways for the mascots to make the Games more fun for young children.
This high-tech humanoid, officially known as the Toyota T-HR3, will be used to bring the experience of the games to off-site spectators. The telepresence robots will be able to transmit sounds and images from the Games to faraway fans to create the illusion of being close to the action. There is also a deliberation on having the robots mirror movements so that spectators from afar can feel like they are part of the games, but it’s doubtful how close the machines will actually come to replicating the thrill that one might experience if they were there in the flesh. Nonetheless, the developments are impressive and they are sure to bring an unparalleled futuristic feel to the Olympics.
It looks a bit like if you stacked a retro webcam and the world’s narrowest tv screen onto a projector – and the T-TR1 robot more or less functions as though you combined all three of those devices. The screen is meant to display the image of a ‘spectator’ who can’t witness the Games in person while its camera streams the robot’s surroundings in real-time to the viewer. The idea behind it is similar to the role that the T-HR3 will play, but the eery projection of real people on these tall screens as the droids careen towards you might give you some weird dreams about what a world with robots might look like in the near future.
The Field Support Robot, simply dubbed FSR, will wheel itself around the fields and retrieve items such as balls or javelins thrown by athletes. This will supposedly reduce the amount of time required to prepare the fields for competition as well as the amount of physical support needed by on-site staff – a blessing given the extreme climates of summertime in Tokyo.
ALSOK, the official securities partner of the 2020 Olympic Games, are also developing AI bots engineered to ensure safety by detecting suspicious-looking characters. The robots operate with an advanced emotional visualisation system and are able to detect jitteriness and aggressive mental states. In addition, the robot can detect fires, toxic gas and also report sounds of distress. Although the use of these robots in the Games have yet to be confirmed, the committee promises that more robots will be revealed in due course.