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Vodafone combines 5G and haptics to let rugby players 100 miles apart tackle each other


This is just one example of how 5G will let us work and play in new ways, and it’s just the beginning.


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Vodafone showed off several demos of its new 5G network in London the other week, but the main one was somewhat bizarre with a world-first demonstration of the power of 5G to transmit touch using haptic technology.

Professional rugby players from Wasps Rugby took part in the stunt in which Juan De Jongh instantaneously felt the impact of a rugby tackle made by Will Rowlands that was made over 100 miles away at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry. He tackled a padded cylinder containing sensors which you can see in the video.


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De Jongh wore a Teslasuit, a full immersion haptic suit that I’ve talked about before, for the demonstration, and the suit was able to simulate the feeling of the tackle through a full body haptic feedback system that provides sensation.


Watch the world’s first remote rugby tackle

This electro-stimulation improves the learning experience by increasing immersion, fostering 360-degree awareness and engaging muscle memory.

Before the live demo but after practice, De Jongh said: “I’ve never experienced anything like this. It felt like something from the Matrix. This technology could not only help athletes to train, but to get back into training after injury.”


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And that’s just the beginning, so will we one day be playing virtual rugby across the world with one another? Well, there’s no reason why not.

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