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The 2018 Winter Olympics: all the tech and updates from the world’s biggest games in Pyeongchang

The 2018 Winter Olympics have begun in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where athletes from 92 countries around the world will compete in over a hundred separate events for the gold. There’s more to it than just the games though: there’s the technology that brings the event to viewers across the world.

The games run from February 9th through February 25th; follow along for all of our coverage.

  • Feb 25, 2018

    Andrew Liptak

    Russia was behind the cyberattack during the opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics

    2018 Winter Olympic Games - Closing Ceremony
    Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

    Russian hackers were responsible for a cyberattack against the 2018 Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony, and tried to make it appear as though North Korea was responsible, reports The Washington Post.

    Citing officials from the US intelligence community, the Post says that Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) gained access to around 300 computers, hacked routers, and distributed malware in the lead-up to and during the event’s opening ceremonies. The contests themselves were unaffected.

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  • Dami Lee

    Feb 12, 2018

    Dami Lee

    Robots compete in their own Olympics ski tournament, capture our hearts

    This year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang is working overtime to showcase Korean robotics technology, featuring robots to clean, guide visitors, drill through a wall to pass on the Olympic torch, and now, compete in ski tournaments.

    In a tournament aptly called “Edge of Robot: Ski Robot Challenge,” eight robotics teams from research universities, institutes, and a private company competed for a $10,000 prize to see which robot could ski down the slopes and race to the finish line the fastest while avoiding obstacles.

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  • Feb 11, 2018

    Andrew Liptak

    Officials confirm that a cyberattack took place during the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies

    2018 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony
    Photo by XIN LI/Getty Images

    Olympic officials have confirmed that a cyber attack took place during the event’s opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang, according to Reuters. The organizers say that while television and internet access was affected, it “it had not compromised any critical part of their operations.”

    According to reports, internet access and Wi-Fi shut down on Friday during the game’s opening ceremonies. The website for the games also went down, preventing attendees from printing out tickets. Pyeongchang organizing committee spokesman Sung Baik-you confirmed that an attack took place, but that the issues have since been resolved. He also said that investigators wouldn’t reveal the source of the attack.

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  • Dami Lee

    Feb 9, 2018

    Dami Lee

    The internet can’t decide whether it loves or fears the Pyeongchang Olympics’ human-faced sacred bird


    NBC isn’t even streaming the Winter Olympics opening ceremony until 8pm ET tonight, but in the time since the event happened live yesterday in Pyeongchang, Korean netizens have made enough fan art and memes out of the ceremony’s man-faced bird that it’s trending nationally on Twitter, and hitting #1 on Yahoo! Japan trending search results.

    “인면조,” or Inmyeonjo, literally translates to “human-faced bird.” The trending tag “인면조 너무” translates to “Inmyeonjo is so,” which is a partial sentence people have completed in different ways, including “Inmyeonjo is so scary,” and “Inmyeonjo is so handsome.” People feel very strongly about this animal one way or another, but are divided on whether it’s terrifying:

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Feb 9, 2018

    Chaim Gartenberg

    Intel’s Winter Olympics light show featured a record-breaking 1,218 drones

    Photo: Intel

    The Olympics opening ceremony is always a big show, and this year was no exception, with Intel joining in on the fun with a record-setting performance of 1,218 Shooting Star drones flying in sync to create huge light-up images of Olympic sports and the iconic Olympic rings in the skies over Pyeongchang.

    Like the drones that flew at Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show, the record-breaking 1,218-drone flight wasn’t live at the opening ceremony — it was pre-recorded in advance — although a smaller group of 300 drones did make a live appearance at the ceremony.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Feb 8, 2018

    Chaim Gartenberg

    How to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

    Previews - PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics
    Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

    The 2018 Winter Olympics have arrived, and things will kick off with the extravagant opening ceremony, which features the lighting of the Olympic flame, the introductions of the countries participating through the flag parade, and a showcase of the culture and history of host nation South Korea.

    While the opening ceremony may claim to be the “official” start of the games, the Olympics actually started on Thursday afternoon in Korea (Wednesday evening in the US) with mixed doubles curling and ski jumping. They will be continuing throughout Thursday and Friday with other events, including figure skating, before the ceremony actually starts.

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  • Shannon Liao

    Feb 7, 2018

    Shannon Liao

    North Korean athletes can’t take Olympic-edition Samsung phones home with them

    Winter Olympics attendees from North Korea, as well as Iran, won’t be able to take their Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phones back home due to United Nations sanctions, the event’s organizers said today, as reported by AFP. This year, Samsung, for the second Olympics in a row, made a special version of the Galaxy Note 8 to distribute to athletes and organizers. It’s not the only promotion of its flagship phone that the tech giant engages in — the Note 8 has also heavily appeared on Korean dramas over the past year, as actors on TV shows tend to all use Samsung devices.

    “The IOC will provide mobile phones to all athletes and officials of all countries participating at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018,” the Olympic organizers said in a statement. “Regarding North Korea and Iran, all participants are requested not to take the phones back to their home country but to only use them during their stay in PyeongChang, since that is required to allow them to participate in the Games.”

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  • Chris Welch

    Feb 7, 2018

    Chris Welch

    How to stream the 2018 Winter Olympics

    Previews - Winter Olympics Day -2
    Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    The 2018 Winter Olympics officially get started tonight from Pyeongchang, South Korea with mixed doubles curling. This is a new event for the Olympics and comes in advance of Friday’s opening ceremony and the lighting of the Olympic torch. More competition is scheduled for tomorrow including figure skating and freestyle skiing.

    If you’re like me and find the highs and lows of the Olympics irresistible, you’re probably wondering about the best way to watch the games. After all, where else can you bounce around from seeing pure elation when someone achieves a lifelong dream to the embarrassment and anguish they show after totally blowing it with one wrong move?

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  • Adi Robertson

    Feb 6, 2018

    Adi Robertson

    The New York Times puts Olympic athletes in augmented reality

    In one of its first mobile augmented reality experiences, The New York Times has launched an iOS-based visualization of four Olympic athletes. If you have a recent iPhone and the Times mobile app, you can see 3D models of figure skater Nathan Chen, speedskater J.R. Celski, ice hockey goalie Alex Rigsby, and snowboarder Anna Gasser overlaid on the real world. By moving close or turning the phone, you can bring up text around specific details, like Gasser’s posture or the protective caps on Celski’s gloves. An Android version is currently in development, and you can find more details on the Times augmented reality initiative here.

    The project is still a bit of a novelty. It’s cool to physically walk around objects that appear in real space, but phone screens are so small that the effect is diminished, especially since you’re supposed to be leaning so close that you’ll basically just see the models themselves. I found the desktop experience more compelling, because it was easier to focus on detail on a pure black background. Even so, the Times has done interesting, important work in the field of virtual reality journalism, and it’s making worthy moves into augmented reality as well.

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  • Thuy Ong

    Jan 17, 2018

    Thuy Ong

    The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 gets a Winter Olympics makeover

    Photo: Samsung

    During the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, we’re used to seeing athletes proudly parade with their phones out, recording videos and taking selfies while the entire world watches. Now Samsung wants to be part of that priceless exposure. The company has announced it will supply over 4,000 special edition Galaxy Note 8 devices to staff members and all Olympians competing in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games.

    The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games Limited Edition Galaxy Note 8 features a white glass back (representing winter) emblazoned with gold Olympic Rings that are “inspired by the Olympic Torch.” The phone features the same specs and functions as the standard Galaxy Note 8, but also comes with pre-loaded PyeongChang 2018 themed wallpapers. Athletes competing in the Paralympic Winter Games will also receive the device along with a special case that features the Paralympic Games logo.

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  • Dami Lee

    Dec 12, 2017

    Dami Lee

    A robot cut through a wall to pass on the Olympic torch in South Korea

    We’re less than two months away from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, and the Olympic torch has been making its way across the country through the hands of athletes, boy-band members, and proud residents. On day 41 of the Olympic Torch Relay, HUBO the humanoid robot had the honor of passing the torch at its birthplace of the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon. It walked about 500 feet to a wooden wall (painted to look like bricks), used a drill to cut a hole, then punched through it with the torch to pass it along to its creator, Professor Oh Jun-ho.

    There are a couple of stand-out moments from the event which you can see in the video above from KBS News. First, HUBO gives Professor Dennis Hong, founding director of the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at UCLA, a ride to the spot where they’ll pass the torch. He chuckles and says the ride was pretty bumpy, but it’s fine since HUBO’s main purpose is for rescue operations. Standing at 47 inches tall and capable of walking 65 paces per minute, HUBO is one of the 85 robots that the Pyeongchang Olympics is utilizing to assist with security, as well as information services, mural-painting, and cleaning.

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  • Tom Warren

    Oct 3, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Intel is building a Windows VR experience for the Winter Olympics

    Intel stock

    Intel says it’s planning to deliver a Windows Mixed Reality experience for the Winter Olympics next year. A company spokesperson appeared, in virtual reality, at Microsoft’s special Mixed Reality event in San Francisco this morning. While Intel hasn’t demonstrated exactly what it’s building, it will likely be similar to the VR broadcasts from NBC during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    NBC previously broadcast a range of events on the Samsung Gear VR headset, through a dedicated NBC Sports app. The Olympics are a good demonstration of the appeal of virtual reality video, with the ability to see a 360-degree view of sports. Microsoft is launching its Windows Mixed Reality platform on October 17th, with a range of headsets from PC makers like Acer, Dell, Lenovo, HP, and Samsung. Windows Mixed Reality is very similar to existing VR experiences from Oculus and HTC, and Microsoft will support apps and games from the Windows Store and SteamVR by the end of the year.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Mar 28, 2017

    Chaim Gartenberg

    NBC will broadcast its entire 2018 Olympics programming live across the world

    NBC announced today that it will be broadcasting all events live across all time zones in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang County, South Korea.

    For recent Olympics, NBC broadcasted all events through official online streams, but stubbornly insisted on tape delays for televised broadcasts of the games. For example, NBC chose to save popular events, competitions with big-name athletes, and even the opening ceremonies (which were last seen live in the US in 1996!) for more lucrative prime-time television slots, even when the actual event had taken place hours beforehand.

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