The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they may be nearly 20 months away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.
The term for Japanese hospitality is “omotenashi.” Omotenashi is characterized by serving someone from the bottom of the heart, without any veneer or deception.
But what if the heart in question is a CPU?
Robots will take up the mantle of omotenashi for certain visitors at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. The always future-forward Japan already uses robots to fulfill many needs of society, but the Games will utilize them in new and innovative ways. The experience begins at the airport, as numerous robots will be deployed to guide visitors where they need to go in various world languages.
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But robots will also be at the Games themselves. The Tokyo 2020 Robot Project is a joint venture between the Tokyo Organizing Committee and robotics scientists from around the country, designed to create machines that will assist and improve the guest experience.
One robot, designed by Toyota, will help guests in wheelchairs locate their seating location and can even help carry their food from a concession stand. Other robots will be announced closer to the Games. But after the competition ends, the hope is that similar technology will remain in everyday use going forward. One of these is a power-assist suit, that when worn provides greater lifting ability and braces against common back injuries.
The Games always hold the possibility of seeing something that’s never been done before. But away from the playing surface, guests will have an experience unlike anything before.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.