The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea are about to open on February 9 and the two-week spectacle promises to showcase the finest athletes around the world yet again.
Get ready to be wowed by events like freestyle skiing, snowboarding, speed skating and bobsleighing as technology and good old-fashioned competition take the global center stage.
And as usual, it is also the time to keep an eye out for the newest in broadcast and sports equipment and consumer technology that will be on full display at the Winter Games.
Here are the top 5 tech innovations you will see during this year’s Winter Olympics.
1. Samsung SmartSuit
For the first time, two speed skaters will be sending real-time data and feedback to their coaches via Samsung SmartSuits. Dutch skaters Suzanne Schulting and Sjinkie Knegt will don the fancy suits outfitted with various sensors that will stream real-time data to their coaches’ Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones.
An app will then analyze their movements and suggest ways to improve their techniques. The coaches can then send instructions via haptic feedback. Now, that’s cool! (No pun intended.)
Don’t expect this tech to be used in actual competition, though. It’s allowed in practice runs, for now.
2. Matrix-style 360 replays
Do you remember that awesome bullet-time effect in the movie “The Matrix”? With the help of hundreds of HD cameras and fast computers around venues like the Gangneung Ice Arena, spectators will be able to watch replays in 360-degree Matrix-style bullet time.
Now, after an ice skating routine, it’s possible to review a skater’s move and rewind and pause it over and over again in slow motion from any angle. Yes, just like Neo.
3. Self-driving buses and VR coverage via 5G
The next generation of mobile networks, 5G, is also being tested at various Winter Olympic venues around South Korea. These superfast 5G connections will not only keep the event’s self-driving buses online and stream those Matrix-style replays to spectators, it will also provide the bandwidth needed for the live Virtual Reality coverage that will accompany the events.
Intel’s True View 360 cameras will be capturing around 50 hours of VR footage during the Winter Olympics including the opening and closing ceremonies and action-packed events like figure skating, skiing and snowboarding.
Note: You can experience these VR videos via Samsung Gear VR, Windows Mixed Reality, Google Cardboard and Google Daydream headsets.
4. Real-time POV videos
The speedy 5G connections will likewise be used for GPS tracking and real-time point-of-view video feeds from skiers on the Alpensia ski slope. Spectators around the venue can then view this information and point-of-view camera angles via an app on their phones.
And it’s not exclusive to skiing events. Other events that will feature GPS tracking and real-time point-of-view videos include bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions.
5. And don’t forget the drones
Although everyone’s quite familiar with drones by now, drone light shows are still amazing to behold. Intel will deploy 100 drones to perform light shows above the PyeongChang Winter Olympic venue, all controlled by a single pilot! Now that’s something I want to see.
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