Technologies used in Chinese space programs were sported in the visually impactful opening ceremony of Beijing's Winter Olympics, China Media Group (CMG) reported on Sunday.
The ceremony system was developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), which is similar to the active system China uses to launch rockets.
"We have the same operating system like what we have for the space project," said Ding Mingxiao, a project manager for the ground display system from CALT. "[The ceremony] resembles a large-scale space project."
According to Ding, the opening ceremony used three subsystems that took orders from the commander in chief, collecting and sending the real-time messages to the monitor system, which gives orders during the performance.
Olympic rings "unboxing" wows viewers
One of the highlights at the opening ceremony was when giant Olympic rings were lifted out off an LED box shaped like a block of ice. Bathed in blue light, the box was lifted on stage covered with LED screens.
The lights on the LED screens changed simultaneously as the rings were pulled up from the box, giving the audience a visual illusion that the rings were carved from a real block of ice.
The Olympic rings spanned 143 square meters and weighed 3.2 tonnes. Meanwhile, the 400-tonne stage expands 22 meters long, seven meters wide and 10 meters high, and can be fully raised in 43 seconds.
"The capability to control such massive capacity needs to be more precise. The challenges are more complex," said He Guanjie, another project manager.
For great visual effects and without scrimping on safety, the researchers at CALT designed the Olympic rings to be robust enough to resist strong winds but still lightweight enough to lift. They also prepared backups for each of the LED beads on the screens, ready to be switched out in no time to ensure a smooth and worry-free showcase.
"The mechanism on the ground must seamlessly coordinate with lights, audio and videos. The margin of error for all the mechanisms can be limited in one millimeter," said He.