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Toyota sends mobility robots to 2020 Olympics

Dedicated to “Mobility For All,” Toyota robots are intended to augment and amplify human capabilities

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As a worldwide partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Toyota aims to provide mobility solutions that go beyond providing official vehicles for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. One way Toyota is doing this is by participating in the “Tokyo 2020 Robot Project”, a project led by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) that brings the government, Tokyo Metropolitan government, as well as Games’ partners together with experts in the field of robotics.

At Tokyo 2020, the robots to be introduced by Toyota will be used to support the mobility of people at various locations and venues. By helping people feel and experience their hopes and dreams, Toyota believes it will be able to further contribute to the excitement and success of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Nobuhiko Koga, Chief Officer of Toyota’s Frontier Research Center, said: “At Toyota, we use industrial robot technology for a variety of applications based on our dedication to ‘Supporting human life activities and living in harmony with people’. For example, since 2004, we have developed partner robots focused on support for people unable to move on their own, including the ageing population.

Now, as we transform into a mobility company, we are expanding our robotics efforts to provide all people with the freedom to move. ‘Mobility for all’ is not only the ‘physical’ movement of a person or thing from one location to another, but also includes ‘virtual’ mobility of a person. This provides further opportunities to experience new things, meet and interact with others, or to be ‘moved’ emotionally. At Tokyo 2020, we want to capture the imagination of spectators by providing support robots as we do our part to make the Games a success.”

Tokyo 2020 Mascot Robot Miraitowa / Someity (Mascot Robot)

Offered from Tokyo 2020

  • To make this the most innovative and technologically advanced Games in history, the Tokyo 2020 and Toyota are working to develop a “mascot robot”.
  • In addition to welcoming athletes and guests to official venues, Toyota is currently considering plans for a new way for the Games to be enjoyed by children in Japan, via the mascot robot.
  • The mascot robot will both allow expressions of arm movements via a remote-location robot, and share force-feedback from interactions.
  • Via a camera mounted on the robot’s head, it can recognize people nearby, and once recognized, use its eyes to respond with/show a variety of expressions.
  • By equipping the robot with miniature joint units across its entire body, the robot offers flexibility when being controlled, and the users can operate the robot safely and with high operational functionality.

T-HR3 (Humanoid Robot)

  • Toyota will provide a unique way for other guests in remote/distant locations that are unable to be physically present to interact with athletes via the T-HR3 and Mascot robots.
  • Specifically, the T-HR3 robots will be able to reproduce movement from a mascot robot in a remote location in nearly real-time. In addition to providing images and sounds from the remote locations, these robot users will also be able to experience the power of movement and force-feedback, allowing them to converse with and high-five athletes and others, feeling as if they were truly physically present.

T-TR1 (Remote location communication Robot)

  • T-TR1 is a virtual mobility/telepresence robot developed by Toyota Research Institute in the United States. It is equipped with a camera atop a large, near life-size display
  • By projecting an image of a user from a remote location, the robot will help that person feel more physically present at the robot’s location.
  • With T-TR1, Toyota will give people that are physically unable to attend the events such as the Games a chance to virtually attend, with an on-screen presence capable of conversation between the two locations.

HSR: Human Support Robot / DSR: Delivery Support Robot

  • For a portion of the accessible seating seats at the Olympic Stadium, the Toyota Human Support Robot HSR will guide guests to their seat and convey light meals, goods, and etc. for them, helping them to more freely enjoy the competition.
  • Also, the Toyota Deliver Support Robot DSR, specially developed for Tokyo 2020, will directly deliver drinks and other goods to spectators that they have ordered from a dedicated tablet.
  • At track and field events, with approx. 500 seats during the Olympic Games and another 500 for the Paralympic Games, the robots are anticipated to serve over 1,000 spectators requiring mobility assistance (Each section is expected to have 16 rows with 32 seats).

FSR: Field Support Robot (Field Event Support Robot)

  • Special-use robots equipped with autonomous functions as part of throwing event (i.e. javelin) operations at the Olympic Stadium.
  • While determining the optimal route to travel, the FSR will follow operating staff on a path that avoids obstacles while retrieving and conveying throwing event items.
  • By using the FSR, the aim is to reduce the amount of time needed to retrieve items as well as reduce the amount of staff labour for the events.
  • Toyota and Tokyo 2020 will be working with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in developing the FSR for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

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Showmax launches half-price mobile streaming service

A new streaming product designed specifically for Africa, featuring TV series as well as African content and live sport, is aimed at filling the gap in subscription video on demand services

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The subscription video on demand (SVoD) model, which originated in the USA, spread rapidly in countries where uncapped broadband is affordable and widely available. However, because the model also relies on consumers being comfortable with transacting online and having ready access to credit cards, it has barely scratched the surface across Africa.

On top of that, smartphones are often the only only form of Internet access across Africa, and none of the popular SVoD services have been designed for the format.

Showmax says it plans to change this with the launch of a new mobile plan that costs 50% of the standard Showmax package but still features 100% of the same video content. Showmax is set apart by a combination of four pillars: hit African content, exclusive international series, topkids’ shows, and live sport, including weekly matches from the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, and Spain’s La Liga.

Showmax says the new plan is aimed at consumers who only use smartphones and tablets to watch video content. Video resolution peaks at standard definition to help reduce data consumption. As it is a product aimed at individuals, only one concurrent stream is included in the plan. As with the regular service, it is also available for a 14-day free trial.

“This is all about an African service developing a solution that meets the needs of African consumers,” saus Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. “Customer feedback consistently points to local content and sport as some of the things that people value most from Showmax. That’s of course on top of the international series, movies, and kids’ shows that are our bread and butter. With all of that content now available in a product designed specifically for mobile usage, we’re doing something no other service can offer.

“On top of that, with groundbreaking deals like our new offer with Vodacom in South Africa, we solve the credit card issue through add-to-bill payment and the data issue by including data directly in the package. We’re looking to launch similar offers in Kenya and Nigeria soon.”

Both the standard and mobile plans include live sport, sport magazine shows and sport documentaries. The 2019 Rugby World Cup Final was streamed live on Showmax earlier this month, and the following is a selection of some of the football due to be live-streamed in November:

22 November: Levante vs Mallorca (La Liga)

23 November: Arsenal vs Southampton (Premier League)

24 November: Bologna vs Parma (Serie A)

25 November: Aston Villa vs Newcastle United (Premier League)

29 November: Celta Vigo vs Valladolid (La Liga)

30 November: Fiorentina vs Lecce (Serie A)

30 November: Chelsea vs West Ham United (Premier League)

Showmax’s mobile plan is currently available in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. 

Comparison of Showmax plans:

Mobile Standard
Price per monthR49 / N1450 / KSh 375R99 / N2900 / KSh 750
Watch on smartphone or tabletYesYes
Watch on smart TV and computerNoYes
HD streamingNoYes
TV series, movies, kids’ showsYesYes
SportYesYes
Concurrent streams12
Cancel anytimeYesYes
14-day free trialYesYes
Chromecast and AirPlayNoYes
Number of devicesOne registered device5 devices can be registered, with 2 able to stream at the same time

For a 14-day free trial, visit www.showmax.com

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Online series wins SA’s Journalist of the Year award

A series of stories on gang warfare in Hanover Park earned Tammy Petersen of News24 the ultimate prize in South African journalism. Here are all the winners of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards.

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At the 18th edition of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards held at Vodacom World earlier tonight, News24’s Tammy Petersen took top honours and the R100,000 grand prize as national winner for her body of work on a gang war series entitled When you live in Hanover Park, you know death. Petersen’s submission was one of over 1,000 entries received from around the country across 12 categories – Investigative, Opinion, Lifestyle, Photography, Sport, Economics, Politics, CSI, Live reporting/ breaking news, Data Journalism, Multi-platform and the Young Journalist of the Year Award. This year’s theme – Connect the Dots – pays tribute to the best-of-the-best of those entries.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group says: “This year has seen extraordinary entries to the 18th Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards. Not all the stories that are national winners were about huge events but also showed the importance of telling the stories of ordinary people. In line with our theme, the dots were indeed connected, and we congratulate all the winners.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “The quality of entries has convinced the judges once again that our industry is in good hands, as far as journalism is concerned, despite the many problems that have beset the industry in recent times. Judging from the entries, South African journalists are determined to fly the flag high for a free, independent, and vigorous media, which augurs well for our democracy. As judges, we can only salute all the entrants for the great work that they submitted. In the end, our industry is probably the biggest winner.”

Judges for this year’s awards are: Ryland Fisher (convenor), Jermaine Craig, Arthur Goldstuck, Albe Grobbelaar, Franz Kruger, Patricia McCracken, Mapi Mhlangu, Collin Nxumalo, Mary Papayya, and Obed Zilwa.

Visit the next page for the full list of winners and their citations.

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