Tactile Internet: bringing reality into the digital world
The Tactile Internet is an emerging technology that promises to revolutionize the way we interact with the digital world. Imagine being able to feel the texture of an object while shopping online, or experiencing realistic haptic feedback while playing a virtual reality game. This technology is made possible by the convergence of several existing technologies, including 5G networks, IoT devices, and advanced haptic feedback systems. In this post, we will take a closer look at the Tactile Internet and its potential applications in areas such as manufacturing, healthcare, and entertainment. We will also discuss the challenges that need to be overcome in order to make the Tactile Internet a reality and how it might impact our everyday life in the near future.
As you read through my posts on emerging tech, my hope is that they will spark your interest in the topic and inspire you to learn more on your own. I will provide you with an overview of the latest developments in the field and give you examples of how these technologies are being used in the real world. My goal is to give you a sense of the potential impact that these technologies will have on our society and economy, and encourage you to explore the topic further. To help you in your journey, I will suggest some useful resources like articles, websites and other materials that can help you to explore the subject more in-depth.
Introduction to the Tactile Internet
What is the Tactile Internet?
The Tactile Internet is considered as a new innovative communication method over the internet with features such as: high availability, ultra-low latency, reliability and security in order to reproduce human tactile reaction sense over internet applications.
The term Tactile Internet was first used in 2014 by Gerhard Fettweis a professor from the Technical University of Dresden (Germany).
“The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) defines the Tactile Internet as an internet network that combines ultra low latency with extremely high availability, reliability and security. It believes the Tactile Internet represents a “revolutionary level of development for society, economics and culture”.
The ITU has included the Tactile Internet in August 2014 in its Technology Watch, which assesses new technologies with regards to existing standards and their potential impact on future standardization.
How does it work?
Tactile Internet will enable real-time interactions such as humans-to-machines and machines-to-machines that mimic the same performance of human tactile reactions.
When will it be available?
On one hand many of the core technologies have been implemented for years, the main constrains remains the current networks. The era of Tactile Internet can only really start once the 5G technology is going to be released in 2020.
In the meanwhile many organizations are now starting to compile standards around it.
Developing new technologies, architectures and products to enable extremely low-latency end-to-end communications to make the Tactile Internet vision a reality is one of the key challenges.
- Education: computers, robots and humans can interact in new ways and disrupt the way people learn. The haptic overlay of human and machines could for example redefine the way movement is going be thought or the way teachers can improve the physical performance of their students.
- Healthcare: the haptic overlay will enable any doctor in any location around the world perform remotely a wide variety of diagnosis and treatments. The Tactile Internet will open the door for enhanced human skills as a result of a combination of the doctor’s tactile sense with the spatial accuracy of robot-assisted operations.
- Energy: high availability, ultra-low latency, reliability are going to change the way energy is managed throughout the entire grid by minimizing the generation of unusable reactive power.
- Smart city: operations, traffic flow, space management, autonomous driving, safety, energy efficiency can all be optimized thanks to real-time operations and interactions between humans and machines.
- Culture and Arts: we as human will have new ways to interact with our surroundings. Human-to-human and human-to-machine interactions will change in nature as they will become seamless and will affect all aspects of society from people habits to the way our economy works.
China has successfully tested the first-ever remote-surgery equipment that utilizes 5G mobile network technology. On January 8th 2019, a doctor in Fujian province remotely performed a liver removal on a laboratory animal via control of robotic surgical arms over a 5G connection. The delay between the doctor’s device and the robot in the surgical room was reported to be a mere 0.1 seconds. Researchers believe that the technology’s high-speed can decrease the risk of fatal medical errors and that 5G-enabled remote surgery may soon be viable for human patients.
Limitations and technical challenges
Connectivity: ultra low-latency and high-bandwidth communication
One of the major challenges facing the Tactile Internet is the need for extremely low-latency and high-bandwidth communication. In order to provide a realistic haptic experience, the delay between a user’s actions and the corresponding haptic feedback must be extremely small, on the order of milliseconds. Additionally, large amounts of data must be transmitted in real-time in order to provide high-fidelity haptic feedback. These requirements can be difficult to meet with current communication technologies, particularly in areas with poor network coverage or high levels of network congestion.
Haptic: realistic and high-fidelity haptic feedback
Another major challenge is the development of advanced haptic feedback systems that can provide realistic and high-fidelity haptic feedback. Existing haptic feedback systems tend to be relatively simple, providing feedback in the form of vibrations or pressure changes. However, in order to provide a realistic haptic experience, much more advanced haptic feedback systems are needed. This would include haptic feedback systems that can provide multiple types of feedback such as temperature, pressure, and texture.
Data processing: ultra compressed data
Data processing and compression is another key challenge that needs to be overcome. In order to transmit large amounts of haptic data in real-time, the data must be highly compressed, which can be difficult to achieve while maintaining the quality of the haptic feedback. Additionally, the data must be processed and interpreted in real-time in order to provide a seamless haptic experience.
Standardization: universally accepted standards for haptic
The lack of standardization is also a challenge for the Tactile Internet. Currently, there are no universally accepted standards for haptic data transmission and interpretation, which can make it difficult for different devices and systems to communicate with one another. This makes it difficult to ensure that haptic feedback is consistent across different devices and systems.
Cybersecurity: sensitive data protection
Finally, there are also ethical considerations, such as cyber security and data protection. As the Tactile Internet becomes more widespread, it will become increasingly important to ensure that sensitive haptic data is protected from unauthorized access or misuse. This includes ensuring that haptic data is transmitted securely and that devices and systems are protected from cyber attacks.
As 5G networks continue to roll out and IoT devices become more ubiquitous, the potential for real-time, low latency haptic feedback will become increasingly viable. Additionally, advancements in haptic feedback technology, such as the development of force-feedback exoskeletons, will greatly enhance the realism of the Tactile Internet experience. However, for the Tactile Internet to fully realize its potential, significant progress must still be made in areas such as data processing and compression, as well as the development of new standardized protocols and interfaces to ensure seamless interoperability between different devices and systems.
The Tactile Internet can enable a wide range of new and innovative applications across various sectors. In manufacturing, it can enable remote-controlled robots to perform complex tasks with precision and dexterity, which could increase efficiency and reduce the need for human workers in dangerous or inaccessible environments. In healthcare, it can enable remote surgery, and facilitate the development of new telemedicine applications such as virtual physical therapy. In entertainment, it can enable immersive experiences such as virtual reality gaming, or make it possible to touch and feel digital art.
Overall, the Tactile Internet has the potential to greatly enhance the way we interact with the digital world, and bring about new and exciting possibilities in various areas. While there are still technical challenges to be overcome, the rapid pace of technological advancement suggests that the Tactile Internet will become a reality in the near future. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this technology might also raise some ethical issues like cyber security and data protection. A careful consideration should be made of how this technology is implemented and how it can be protected from cyber attacks or misuse.
The Internet of Things is just the beginning of a digital transformation and the next evolutionary step of this transformation is the “Tactile Internet”, which will completely change the way humans and machines interact.
.. an exciting new era is coming.
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I love writing about technology because it allows me to explore the endless possibilities and advancements of our world. It’s fascinating to see how far we have come and to imagine where we might go next. As a technology writer, I have the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge developments and share them with others, helping to educate and inspire the next generation of innovators. Plus, writing about technology gives me the chance to combine my passion for storytelling with my interest in emerging technologies and trends. Continue reading here:
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