Scientists develop technology for future “tactile” internet

January 17, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Scientists develop technology for future “tactile” internet
Researchers at the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in South Korea have developed a technology capable of sending packets of digital information at 25 Gb/s – 10 times faster than currently available speeds. The technology, named TIC-TOC, is regarded a critical component of the future “Tactile” internet, in which information is sent and processed at speeds on par with human perception.

TIC-TOC operates at a speed fast enough to download a 3 GB movie within one second. The system also can the system can differentiate data packets according to their respective urgency and give priority to the "more urgent" data packets. The most striking property of the system however is ability to transfer data packets with minimal delay, enabling response times of one millisecond. This is relevant because it is on par with the human sensor of touch. For comparison – with the 4G mobile technology that currently represents the mainstream, response times of less than 50 milliseconds are not possible.

TIC-TOC stands for “Time Controlled Tactile Optical Access” and is designed to work on 5G networks. The researchers anticipate the TIC-TOC technology will help advance virtual reality and augmented reality in all sorts of sectors, from education and healthcare, to entertainment and public safety.

For example, it could be possible to deploy and operate robots in dangerous or disaster areas with instant sight and feel communication between human controllers and machines. When the machine sees something, the humans see it, and when the human remotely controls the robot’s hand or head, the motion will happen immediately. The same could be true for telesurgery, with a doctor remotely controlling a robot performing the surgery, but the doctor feels as if she were in the operating room because the response is instantaneous. With these properties, the technology represents a major step towards the implementation of time-critical functions in industrial real-time controls.


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