Message from the President September.2021

Cutting-Edge Technologies Shine at Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, a global sports event that had been postponed for one year, came to an end, completing a 17-day schedule that began on July 23. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are being held now, and athletes are continuing to compete. Meanwhile, I would imagine that many people became interested in the diverse range of cutting-edge technologies that have supported the two events.

Self-driving buses and different types of robot assistants capable of handling human work provided convenience to Olympians and staff members. Next-generation technologies offered a more realistic experience through the fusion of AI, 5G, VR and AR, so that viewers and listeners could feel that they were watching the action live in the stadium. Above all, the opening ceremony was overwhelming. While enjoying the Games themselves, I was very impressed with the latest technologies that featured in the ceremony, such as the drone show with the high-precision, three-dimensional rendering of the Earth using as many as 1,824 drones operated by a single personal computer, aided with the use of control technologies for avoiding collisions and selecting efficient routes.

In addition, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics visualized a range of initiatives for SDGs. In terms of next generation energy, hydrogen was used for the first time since the beginning of the Olympic Games to light the Olympic flame, and electric power consumed in the stadiums and Olympic village were generated entirely by renewable energy. On the resource management side, metals recovered from used small consumer electronic devices collected nationwide were used to craft medals presented to athletes. I felt that these efforts contributed to sending the "creation of a better future" message from Tokyo, globally.

Now, with our lives subject to many restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged and inspired by watching athletes overcoming difficulties to accomplish their dreams and goals. In addition, even under these restricted circumstances, we are making progress toward the realization of a safe, secure and convenient world thanks to the evolution of technology.

I believe that engineers engage in an occupation that can convert things and events that have hitherto only existed in our imaginations into reality, by developing new technologies or combining a range of technologies. For this very reason, engineers are always expected to keep up with the latest information while simultaneously learning from each other through discussion. I imagine that the second Olympics in Tokyo was a valuable learning opportunity for engineers. It was a festival that made us realize that the things and events that we felt only existed in our imaginations were in fact just around the corner.

September, 2021