As reported by U.K. media outlet Smart Chimps, Swedish technology firm Ericsson and King’s College London have joined in a research project to create an Internet that users can literally touch, called the tactile Internet. The pair have announced collaboration on researching 5G, the next generation of mobile connectivity, to address both technical implications and societal challenges towards the development of a tactile Internet.

Professor Mischa Dohler, head of King’s College London’s center for telecommunications research in the department of informatics, said, “Currently we can see and hear through the Internet, but we cannot touch; we have a vision to create the tactile Internet, where we would be able to touch through the medium of the Internet.”

5G is expected to begin its commercial rollout in 2020, by which time Ericsson believes that there will be up to 50 billion connected devices in the world, mainly in machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. 5G networks will enable a wide variety of use cases such as evolved mobile broadband services, a range of M2M communication and media distribution.

Experimental activities will include the setup of a 5G tactile Internet lab with test bed capabilities, enabling the easy creation, testing and real-time adaptation radio technology in software. This will occur both in devices and remotely as part of Cloud RAN experimentation. An Ericsson King’s College London 5G tactile Internet showroom will showcase developed prototypes and connect to real-time live test beds in London and globally. 

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