Expectations high for 2020 summer games festivities

Expectations high for 2020 summer games festivities
People gather to see a giant replica of a Mobile Suit Gundam on display in Tokyo.

TOKYO - Olympic games often become global stages for host countries to promote technology and culture. In the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, a man flew into the stadium using a jet pack during the opening ceremony. Since then, such opening festivities have become increasingly commercial, to great fanfare.

In Japan, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will likely be put to use as a platform for showcasing its highly-esteemed robot technology.

In 2019, Sunrise, a group company of Japanese game and toy maker Bandai Namco Holdings, will mark the 40th year anniversary of its successful TV animation series Mobile Suit Gundam, first broadcast in 1979. To celebrate the occasion, Sunrise has started working on a project called Gundam Global Challenge. It will feature an 18-meter tall moving Gundam robot. "It is not [as grand as] the Apollo programme, but we hope to give Japan a sense of excitement with this dream-like project," said Sunrise President Yasuo Miyakawa.

The company has sought innovative ideas from around the world and is looking to build the robot over the next few years. To make this project more entertaining, the company plans to use a range of cutting-edge technology, including new sensors, materials and augmented reality.

By its late February deadline, Sunrise had received a number of project proposals from universities, research institutions, major businesses and individuals from around the globe. Half of the ideas came from overseas, the company said. It will examine each submission and announce a basic design idea for the Gundam project in October. It will adopt an open platform development method, thereby allowing other organisations to offer additional ideas.

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