5G connected humanoid robots could roam disaster areas

Human’s wearing exoskeletons could control robots in disaster areas almost instantly by using high-speed 5G networks. The futuristic vision for 5G networks was one of a number of experiments being conducted with the technology, which could be available as soon as 2020.

South Korean technology firms SK Telecom and Samsung were both demonstrating a 7.55Gbps 5G network at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with the former speculating on how the technology could be used in the future.

A spokesperson for SK Telecom told WIRED.co.uk that the lack of latency over 5G made it ideal for controlling humanoid robots using exoskeletons. Latency is the time it takes for a data packet to get from one point to another, with any delay having a big impact on how immediately a command can be sent and received.

Latency on current 4G networks is around 50 milliseconds, but on experimental 5G networks this drops to below 1 millisecond. SK Telecom said this gave the human operator wearing an exoskeleton near-instant control of a robot, even over long distances.

In a demonstration at Mobile World Congress, sensor data received by the exoskeleton was sent to a humanoid robot over a small distance. SK Telecom said it would be possible to have the same immediate control over distances of up to 1km, something which is impossible to do over 4G.

As well as allowing humans to instantly control robots in disaster zones and other areas, 5G networks could also be used to transmit 360-degree virtual reality. In a demonstration SK Telecom showed video captured by an Oculus Rift headset being sent in real-time via a server to a client.

SK Telecom said its 5G networks had a peak data rate of 7.55Gbps, using millimetre-wave bands to transmit large amounts of data with very little latency. The company said it would launch a pilot 5G network in South Korea in 2018 with a full commercial network going live in 2020.

Source: 5G connected humanoid robots could roam disaster areas, James Temperton ( http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-03/03/5g-robot-exoskeletons )


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