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Immersive Technology Is Revolutionizing the Tokyo Olympics 2020 Viewing Experience

Last Friday, on 16th July 21, marked the commencement of Tokyo Olympic 2020. Delayed by almost a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related distancing protocol, the series of the finest athletic competitions involving the very best of contenders from across the globe has finally begun. Like always, we have already witnessed some iconic sporting moments going down the path of history—from the youngest medalist Momiji Nishiya winning the skateboarding event to the Philippines bagging their first-ever gold in nearly a century, the journey so far has been fascinating.

But one thing that is significantly different from any previous Olympics ceremony is the audience participation. As the threat of COVID-19 still looms large, the authorities at both the Olympic committee and Tokyo city had to place several distancing protocols and minimize gathering at the stadiums. Also, most of the viewers chose to settle for enjoying the athletic extravaganza from the comfort of their homes due to the ongoing pandemic concerns.

Significantly affected

Although it has significantly affected the adrenaline fest on the bleachers, the audience is not essentially missing out on the excitement. Rather, extensive home viewing has augmented novel ways and technologies in the history of television broadcasting. Most media this year are offering home viewers an immersive viewing experience using AR and VR technology.

Stereoscopig 360

Multiple events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be broadcasted in stereoscopic 360 via the NBC Olympics VR app available on Oculus Quest 2 and Oculus Quest VR headsets. Other than the 360-degree live video, organizers and broadcasters are also reportedly experimenting with several immersive technologies to bring the action to life for home viewers. Among others, tech giant Intel has particularly been successful to employ an impressive range of immersive technology, including volumetric video capture and 3D athlete tracking.

True View

The unique immersive experience from Intel, known as True View, has rather revolutionized the traditional way of watching live sports. It offers a seamless immersive experience that replicates the real feel of a stadium in its true sense but within the four walls of their homes. The technology uses a combination of high-speed data processing and high-resolution cameras to capture volumetric videos that can be further explored in 3D.

Stunning  technology

Another stunning technology from Intel that ensures incredible clarity and true detail in broadcasting live sports is 3D Athlete Tracking (3DAT). Powered by computer vision tech and artificial intelligence, 3DAT offers a wealth of data regarding the competitors. This data is further used to analyze the biomechanics of the athletes’ physique and translated into interesting insights about them, delivered to the viewers within seconds via onscreen overlay.

Enhancing the experience

Immersive technology is enhancing the Olympics experience not just for home viewers but also for the live audience at the stadiums. For the selected number of spectators allowed inside the venues, one of the leading network providers of Japan, NTT Docomo, is offering an immersive experience as well. It is reported that they will provide AR headsets to the attendees of swimming events at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre to view race information and athlete details in select events. Moreover, all this information will be disseminated in real-time using Intel 5G technology.


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