Facial-Recognition App Could Summon Profiles of Olympians on TV

Sweden’s Ken Sema competes for the ball with Nigeria’s Stanley Amuzie during the 2016 Summer Olympics. (Photo by Bruno Zanardo/Getty Images)

A facial-recognition app developed for a Japanese university student competition that can immediately access athlete profiles has caught the attention of Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Committee.

Eisuke Sugitani, 20 and a junior at Doshisha University in Kyoto, developed the idea that would allow users to direct their smartphones at the television and receive biographical information back. According to the Jiji Press, Sugitani’s concept was designed to help Japanese sports fans to learn more about international athletes. When Olympians or Paralympians are not identified by name in a competition, Internet searches to find out more about them can be difficult.

SportTechie Takeaway

This is a similar premise to the idea espoused by Los Angeles 2028 Olympic chairman Casey Wasserman recently, who discussed ways technology can improve the fan experience. His hypothetical example was to bring the NBC-crafted athlete narratives to in-venue fans, but moving in the opposite direction. Accessing those compelling stories is the best way to engage viewers and would help bring context to the Games—the biggest challenge for an event happening only once every four years is explaining why the competition and these athletes matter.

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