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Colorful overlays will track athletes’ speed during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Colorful overlays will track athletes’ speed during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics


Intel previews next-year’s broadcast tech

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The track and field events at next year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo will feature new augmented overlays to help viewers keep track of what’s going on during a race. In a new video, Intel previews footage that includes overlays that identify the top runners’ names and speeds. A color trail appears behind them, too, seemingly showing their speeds at different points along the track. You can see in the GIF above how the colors seem to phase in and out as their speeds change.

The technology is called 3DAT, or 3D Athlete Tracking. Intel says it works in “near real time,” relying on AI and computer vision, allowing broadcasters to add it live.

It sounds like the tech will be able to do more than what’s shown here. Yiannis Exarchos, executive director of Olympic Channel Services, says it’ll be used to help viewers understand different phases of sprinting events during the track and field competition. The tech is also capable of understanding the “form and motion of athletes,” and Exarchos says this will all result in new “insights” into the Olympic competitions for viewers.

Intel has an expansive partnership to provide tech for the Olympic games beyond the overlay features. Its processors are also powering a facial recognition system meant to identify more than 300,000 people at the games, and, as it did in 2018, it’s also promising more virtual reality broadcasts, including of the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field events.