How Verizon 5G can help transform remote robotics

By: Chris Ashraf

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Imagine a complicated and expensive industrial robot breaks down in the middle of the night in a California manufacturing plant and the only technician with the know-how to repair it is based in New York. With 5G and the RealBotics tele-robotics platform, users can have around-the-clock access to do remote repairs with nothing more than a smartphone and a virtual reality headset.

At Verizon’s 5G Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, RealBotics showed off how its platform connected to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network could be used to power near real time virtual reality training for factory workers and allow engineers to aid robots on the warehouse floor. During the demonstration, RealBotics showed how a person in Cambridge wearing a VR headset connected to a 5G-enabled smartphone, could control a robotic arm more than 500 miles away in Pittsburgh using augmented reality overlays and a simple video game-type controller

“Without 5G, you’re not able to do all of this cool stuff with a smartphone,” said Chris Quick, founder and CEO of RealBotics. “With 5G and our platform, businesses and schools could offer inexpensive training in robotics and having our software on a 5G smartphone opens up many more potential use cases. For example, you can connect that mobile robot you made for a class project and turn him into a robo-butler at your next party or let the RealBotics community remotely throw the next tennis ball to your inexhaustible puppy.”

5G’s low latency, high speeds and massive bandwidth make near real-time remote control possible enabling almost instant responsiveness, which is crucial when controlling machines in different locations.

RealBotics was among the seven winners of the Verizon 5G Robotics Challenge. The challenge asked universities, startups, and other developers in the greater Boston area to create 5G-powered robotics technologies that could transform modern industry. The winners received grant funding and were given access to Verizon’s 5G to lab to test their concepts on a live 5G network.

Stay tuned next week for a look at another cool 5G use case from our Verizon 5G Labs!

Learn more about Verizon’s 5G technology here.

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About the author(s):

Chris Ashraf is an external communications manager at Verizon writing about 5G and network solutions.

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