What if electricians would use VR glasses?

5G can revolutionise industrial processes and make renovation work easier. In Otaniemi, it is already running the factory of the future. 

As a system that is faster, extremely safe and which reacts without delay, 5G outperforms 4G in three ways. The network is already being tested at Aalto University’s Otaniemi campus as part of the Tekes-funded TAKE-5 project. 

The possibilities of 5G are also being studied elsewhere, but Aalto’s test network has one advantage in comparison to many others. 

‘Since the entire system has been deployed in Aalto, we can make more extensive and flexible changes than would be possible if the system came from somewhere else. Our partners who want to study and develop new innovations also have the same opportunities’, emphasises Research Manager José Costa-Requena. 

‘From the learning point of view as well, it is important to get to grips with the whole system. Our students here can easily start coding 5G applications on entirely normal programming courses.’ 

So when will 5G move from testing to reality? And what kind of applications will it bring with it? Costa-Requena reckons that 5G will be available to users before the end of the decade. Applications will come gradually at first, but then at an ever increasing rate. Many of these will be used by businesses. 

‘ABB and Konecranes, for example, are currently investigating how cables could be safely replaced with wireless control. In Otaniemi, 5G is already being used to test out the factory of the future.’ 

The first new consumer applications could relate to augmented reality. 5G’s lag period is under a millisecond, which makes the use of virtual glasses, for example, pleasant and effective. In addition to free time applications, this could also be put to professional use. An electrician, for example, could use the virtual glasses to see which cables are located in the walls and to check at the same time the construction drawing.

About Take-5

  • TAKE-5 is a three-year Tekes-funded project. The project participants are Aalto University, University of Helsinki, Tampere University of Technology and VTT. 
  • The companies currently involved in the project are Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, Coriant Oy, Efore, EXFO, ECE, Rugged Tooling and Magister. 
  • Aalto has nine 5G base stations on Otaniemi campus, of which five are located outside and four are inside. In addition, there are also ten base stations in the area which belong to project partner VTT. 
  • TAKE-5 has also involved a lot of research on 5G radio operations, including how the connection is maintained when moving between densely located base stations and how the network works when tens of thousands of sensors are located in a small area. 
  • TAKE-5 is part of the broader Finnish 5GTNF test network, which is partly funded by Tekes’ national 5th Gear programme.