Blockchain. AI. VR. Automation. IoT. The tech world has been going strong in the direction of the next great thing. And with 5G, the next generation of wireless technology, on the horizon, technologists are turning their eyes toward a more virtually-driven world.
What’s so special about 5G?
Every new generation of wireless technology has enabled users to complete tasks faster. The introduction of 4G brought faster connectivity to users across the globe, with download speeds up to 100Mbps (up to five times faster than the previous generation, 3G). And 5G is promising speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G. Faster connection, streaming and download speeds can open a whole new world for life-improving possibilities.
As the reality of this next generation draws closer, researchers are exploring a range of ways that 5G will revolutionize everything from music to medicine, and everything in between. Pairing a faster wireless network with advancements in virtual and augmented reality can create an almost limitless range of potential uses.
How 5G is slated to take over the future
With 5G on the horizon, there is a lot to get excited about. Some of the proposed uses include:
Just like the previous generations, 5G has the potential to revolutionize mobile capabilities. Mobile networks will have the ability to reach farther distances and communicate faster than ever before.
Driverless cars are not a new idea, but 5G could potentially bring this technology to the next level. A faster and wider wireless network could help cars communicate faster, alerting other vehicles of traffic jams or other important road information. A 5G network could also assist public transportation, sending messages to trains and other cargo-carrying vehicles at the speed of light.
Faster streaming and communication between different channels brings the potential for high-quality video streaming. Experts propose that a 5G network could help emergency service teams communicate with each other. Paramedics and hospital employees would be able to assess a patient’s needs during transport. Messages between police and rescue service teams would have less lag, regardless of where the services are located. The end goal? Save more lives.
- Remote surgeries
One of the most exciting potential uses of 5G involves remote surgery through virtual reality. A surgeon wearing haptic gloves and using VR equipment would be able to perform a surgery remotely. His movements would be sent to a robot who would follow the surgeon’s precise actions. 5G speeds would eliminate the communication lag and provide real-time feedback to the surgeon.
Pianist and wireless technology professor Mischa Dohler is working on digitizing his piano skills to teach students how to play, no matter where they are. Haptic gloves would track and record his muscle movements as he plays the piano. Aspiring pianists would be able to download virtual lessons onto an exoskeleton that would in turn move their fingers until muscle memory kicked in. Teaching skills through muscle memory could eventually be applied to a variety of skills and hobbies.
The future of 5G
The 5G mobile networks are still being developed, so don’t expect to see this technology appear in your local hospitals anytime soon. This technology will likely not appear on the public scene until 2020, and more advanced applications of 5G technology, such as an “Internet of skills” (where physical skills are transferred across networks) could take up to a decade more. But as the finer details of a 5G world are worked out, we will begin to see technology drive greater connectivity by bridging gaps in geographical space and communication.