Tokyo 2020 to trial snow machines

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games has confirmed it will trial the use of snow machines as the latest means to address concerns over the high heat levels expected during next year’s event, while an ‘Open Innovation Challenge’ has been launched in an effort to find fan experience innovations.

Heatstroke and other effects of the high summer temperatures in the Japanese capital are a major concern ahead of the 2020 Games and it was revealed last month that lawmakers from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will carry out a study on how heatstroke can be prevented during the event.

Tokyo 2020 has now said snow machines will spray artificial snow over a test audience comprised of organising committee staff during a test event for rowing and canoe events scheduled for the Tokyo Bay venue from September 12-15.

The test will be specifically carried out on September 13 at the Sea Forest Waterway. In 2016, Sea Forest Waterway elected to end its original plan to cover all stands with a roof to save money. This has left half of the 2,000 seats exposed to the sun.

“Artificial snow will be sprayed over spectator seating,” a Tokyo 2020 spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

“We haven’t decided definitively that we will use this system next year for the Olympics, but we want to test it to see how effective it is. We’re open to trying all potentially useful ideas.”

In other news, the Tokyo 2020 Open Innovation Challenge has been launched. A technology competition aimed at creating an innovative spectator experience, the initiative seeks to encourage as many people as possible to become involved in the Games.

Participants from Japan and overseas have been invited to develop and submit prototypes of any type of technology application leveraging the latest Cloud and AI technologies, including mobile, web-based or robot applications. The aim is to enhance the future spectator experience for sporting events and highlight Tokyo2020’s commitment to innovation.

The Open Innovation Challenge will focus on the spectator experience at basketball (3×3), BMX freestyle, skateboarding and sport climbing events – the new, youth-focused urban sports making their first appearance in the Olympic Programme at the Games.

Alibaba Cloud and Intel are partnering with Tokyo 2020 to organise the Challenge. The three organisations will jointly review and select as winners those who develop the most innovative and creative applications.

Proposals are being accepted through to October 13, with a final presentation due on February 22.