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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Companies show off high tech during 2020 Olympics opening

Intel dazzles with drones and Eneos with 'green hydrogen'

 A fleet of 1,824 drones replicates the Earth in the sky over the National Stadium in Tokyo on July 23. (Photo by Nikkei)

TOKYO -- The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics gave companies a stage on which to showcase their products and technologies to the world.

U.S. semiconductor company Intel created a light show with a fleet of 1,825 drones above the Olympic Stadium on July 23, while the highly symbolic Olympic flame was fueled by hydrogen from Japan's Eneos Holding and lit by the nation's brightest tennis star, Naomi Osaka.

The drones were initially arrayed in the emblem of the 2020 Olympics before morphing into a blue Earth. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, Intel also staged a light show with more than 1,200 drones.

For Tokyo, the American company used its Shooting Star drone, a quadcopter model weighing only 340 grams and capable of operating in blustery winds up to 11 mps.

Equipped with four high-definition LED lights, the Shooting Star "made it possible to achieve borderless lights and well-defined graphics," said Kunimasa Suzuki, president of Intel Japan. Drones at the 2018 Games had only one LED light each.

Intel used animation software and other tools to create the colors and blinking display for the Tokyo show.

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic also had a presence at the opening ceremony, showing off its mapping projectors, sound equipment and lighting gear, the latter of which was designed to accurately reproduce clear colors need for ultra-high definition 4K and 8K broadcasting.

Eco-friendliness is the main theme of the Tokyo Games. Eneos is providing clean hydrogen to the Olympic caldrons set up in the city's Koto Ward and at National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward.

The "green hydrogen" is produced from a renewable energy source in Fukushima Prefecture by the New Energy and Technology Development Organization and other entities before being shipped to Tokyo. It is generated from water through electrolyzation by means of renewable energy-based electricity without emitting carbon dioxide.

The Olympic flame burns in the cauldron of the National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo on July 23. (Photo by Rie Ishii)

Housing equipment maker Lixil was chosen to make aluminum for the Olympic torch because of its skill in manufacturing window sashes and other products from recycled aluminum. The company produced roughly 30% of the aluminum used in the torch by recycling window sashes from temporary houses built for victims of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that devasted Japan in 2011.

The torch was made by UACJ Extrusion, a Tokyo-based metal processor, which spent about three years laboriously designing dies to meet strict specifications and achieve the intricate cherry blossom motif. UACJ made around 10,000 torches, which are 71 cm long and weigh 1.2 kg.

Japan's 1600 athletes wore costumes prepared by men's suit store chain Aoki Holdings for appearances at official events like new conferences and during the opening ceremony. The company was selected from among scores of rivals through a competitive bidding process led by the Japan Olympic Committee in 2019.

The attire for the opening ceremony consists of a white jacket and red pants. The jacket embodies Japanese craftsmanship at its finest, with tiny holes for high air permeability and stretchability, while shirts and blouses feature high water absorbability and fast-drying performance.

The athletes' outfits "enable [Aoki] to demonstrate technologies we have accumulated by producing suits in Japan over 60 years," said company president Akihiro Aoki.

Uniqlo, a unit of Japan's leading casual clothing chain operator Fast Retailing, produced the outfits for the Swedish Olympic squad, using materials such as polyester from recycled plastic bottles to stress the importance of sustainability in light of the Scandinavian country's position as a leader of environmental protection.

Theme music from popular video games by Enix Holdings such as "Dragon Quest" and "Final Fantasy" was played as the athletes marched into the stadium. The musical selections were a big hit, as evidenced by people's responses over the internet. "I got goose bumps from the Dragon Quest music," said one.

In addition, music from Capcom's "Monster Hunter" was also played, in addition to selections from Bandai Namco Holding, Sega Sammy Holdings and Konami Holdings.

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