Ericsson and King’s College London demonstrate 5G tactile robotic surgery

  • 5G provides the surgeon with a sense of touch during remote surgery
  • Can be used for diagnosis or during the surgery for identifying cancerous tissue
  • Controlled and monitored via Software Defined Networking

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and King’s College London demonstrated a 5G use case of tactile robotic surgery at 5G World 2016 in London on 29-30 June. The “Remote Control and Intervention” 5G medical use case showed a probe as a robotic representation of a biological finger that gives the surgeon a sense of touch in minimally invasive surgery, and is able to send accurate real time localization of hard nodules in soft tissue. The probe, or robotic finger, is able to identify cancer tissue and send information back to the surgeon as haptic feedback.

Visitors to Ericsson’s stand at 5G World 2016 were able to experience 5G latency by controlling the movements of the robotic finger with a haptic glove, and once the probe detected the hard tissue in the simulation, it sent a haptic signal back to the user device.  Then, they could view visual feedback of what was happening with a close view of the soft tissue model. These processes happen through software defined networking, which is configured to provide the necessary Quality of Service, by implementing networking slicing end to end, one of the newest concepts of 5G. Valter D’Avino, Head of Ericsson Western & Central Europe, said: “Through this 5G simulation demonstration, we could show how latency is a critical part of what 5G can deliver, bringing both the sense of touch and an essential real-time video feed to remote surgery.” Professor Mischa Dohler, Head of the Centre for Telecommunications Research in the Department of Informatics at King’s College London, said: “By 5G enabling enhanced minimally invasive remote surgery, the number of applications escalates and the advantages are no longer geographically localized. It enables worldwide mentorship and scalability of diagnosis and intervention.”