Looking to give the 2020 Summer Olympics something a little different — something a little humanoid — organizers on Monday unveiled several robots expected to be part of the experience in Tokyo next year.
Technology has been an emphasis during the build-up to the Games — scheduled to begin a year from Wednesday — with Panasonic and Toyota joining the effort to develop automated helpers.
“It’s one of the unique initiatives,” Masa Takaya, a Tokyo 2020 spokesman, said during an interview at the organizing headquarters.
The “Tokyo 2020 Robot Project” will be employed on and off the field.
Two of the automatons will take the form of Games mascots Miraitowa and Someity, programmed to show facial expressions as they wave at and shake hands with athletes and fans.
Field Support Robots will help officials retrieve hammers and javelins during the throwing events at the Olympic Stadium.
Other robots will be equipped with cameras that can broadcast live action, giving “people that are physically unable to be present at Games-related locations a chance to virtually attend.”
Takaya said additional technology will deliver concessions to fans in wheelchairs. There is also a “mobile suit” that workers can strap into, helping them move heavy bags at the athletes village, for example.
“It’s part of the innovation,” Takaya said. “We feel it’s important to showcase the latest technology.”