Colorful overlays follow the speed of athletes during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

The track and field events at next year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo will feature new enlarged overlays to help viewers keep track of what's going on during a race. In a new video, Intel provides a preview of images with overlays that identify the names and speeds of the best runners. A color trail also appears behind them that appears to show their speeds at different points along the track. You can see in the GIF above how the colors gradually fall in and out as their speeds change.

The technology is called 3DAT or 3D Athlete Tracking. Intel says it works in "almost real-time", depending on AI and computer vision, allowing broadcasters to add it live.

It seems that the technology will be able to do more than what is shown here. Yiannis Exarchos, executive director of Olympic Channel Services, says it will be used to help viewers understand different stages of sprint events during the track and field competition. The technology is also able to understand the "shape and movement of athletes", and Exarchos says that all of this will result in new "insights" in the Olympic competitions for viewers.

Intel has an extensive partnership to provide technology for the Olympics that goes beyond the overlay functions. The processors also feed a face recognition system that is intended to identify more than 300,000 people to the games and, as in 2018, it also promises more virtual reality broadcasts, including the opening and closing ceremonies and track & field events.