The annual Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona is always dominated by the new phones of the big brands, but if you look beyond the main rooms, there is a lot of innovation to explore. Here is a sample of the technology that caught our attention this week.
1. Ehang 184 drone taxi
Riding a drone on a seat that takes you autonomously from an airport to your hotel is not a general idea of what futuristic travel should look like. Realizing that drones like the Ehang 184 are also a potential pest and a danger to the other, mobile networks hope to create an "Internet of the heavens" by installing all drones with a 4G SIM card.
Mastering innovation Urban area in Barcelona, drones connected to 4G as the electric four-blade Ehang 184 could be tracked and geoperforated [given a virtual geographic boundary] by a mobile network, so that they can never enter the airspace used by the planes. There are plans to test the Ehang 184 imminently in Dubai.
2. Kino-mo Hypervsn hologram effect
Holograms are an illusion. The light must bounce off a surface so that the human eye sees the color and brightness, so that it stops in the air. Impossible. It is not that you know it by the large crowds around the stand of the British company Kino-mo.
Featuring huge 3D hologram projections of shoes, beverages, cars and fantasy worlds, Hypervsn technology is initially disconcerting … until you try to photograph that. When capturing a fixed frame, it is obvious that Hypervsn is a network of dozens of small propellers and LED lights. The image is really flat, but if you stand in front of it, it looks a lot like moving holograms in 3D.
3. Tracking dogs with Samsung Connect Tag
If you ever heard about the Internet of Things (IoT) and you're wondering what the fuss was about, Mobile World Congress this year provided a response.
"You can put it on your dog's collar, or throw it in your luggage," says Andrew Parker, director of program marketing, Internet of Things, at the GSM Association (GSMA).
Remember the Nokia 8110` banana phone & # 39 ;? It's back, with 4G internet
The device in question is Samsung Connect Tag, a small 25g disk that uses almost no battery and has very low cost connectivity. "Korea Telecom is selling them as multipurpose tracking devices at US $ 9 per year for connectivity, and with that price, you can easily see why everyone could track everything down soon," says Parker.
The background technology is low. economic data networks, narrow-band IoT and LTE-M, which are being deployed gradually throughout the world.
4. Earthlight: Lunar Mission VR
What would a lunar base of the future look like? You can find it on Project Alice, a large virtual reality platform installed in Barcelona by the technology company VR based in Beijing Noitom and X-Labs of Huawei.
This multiplayer platform hosts Earthlight: Lunar Mission a virtual reality experience that is technically a mixed reality, since you can pick up real props, such as a box to collect lunar rocks, as you walk along the lunar surface.
Each astronaut uses an Oculus Rift helmet without ties, which traces them around the moon, with a network of optical cameras that make it so precise that you can even give the maximum of five.
5. 5G 360 video call from SK Telecom
With a hugely increased bandwidth, 5G will allow all kinds of new forms of communication. An intriguing use for 5G demonstrated by SK Telecom in Barcelona this year was the 360 degree video call.
Installed in a couple of cabins, the demo involved the Insta360 Air camera. Does anyone have to make a virtual reality phone call? Probably not, but remember when video calls quickly became common as soon as 4G networks were up to the task? The callers can share everything that surrounds them, they have the possibility of "sharing calls" in 360 degrees in real time. It could still be the killer application of 5G
6. Plex-VR 3D Light Field Characters
Samsung and Sony have talked about the augmented reality avatars that can be created, customized and shared using the new Galaxy S9 and Xperia XZ2 phones. Plex-VR goes a step further with a new 3D light field technology that can recreate a live performance on a phone or tablet. "We use many cameras to capture the performance of a person from many angles, and after some processing we can put them in an environment of AR and VR," says Jason Yang, director of technology and co-founder of Plex-VR.
7. HTC Vive Pro & Vive Wireless Adapter
There's nothing like a strap to ruin an otherworldly virtual reality experience. The VR headset is cordless, and HTC previewed its Vive wireless adapter, which will be launched in the summer. Connected to the original HTC Vive or the new higher resolution HTC Vive Pro headphones, the freedom it gives you really gives you a new immersive feel.
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In Barcelona, HTC made the company really Virtual resident in Texas Janimation Studios will create a wonderful arcade style experience of hot air balloon flights through the Grand Canyon. The wireless experience, which takes place in a real vintage basket of balloons, allows you to move freely and feel both the heat of the balloon burner and the wind through your hair.
8. The most efficient solar panel in the world
In some corners of the Mobile World Congress it is possible to find scientists looking for solutions to the biggest problems of humanity. Perhaps the most important was in the Graphene Flagship area, where the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia showed the most efficient solar panel in the world.
Created from inorganic crystals called perovskite, the key ingredient is graphene ink. Considered a "miraculous material" for more than a decade, graphene is the thinnest, strongest and lightest material known to scientists. It is also transparent, flexible and conducts electricity and heat supremely well.
"Graphene is used to increase efficiency to record levels and to increase the stability of the solar cell," says Beatriz Martín-García of the Italian Institute. di Tecnologia
"This is graphene in glass, but flexible substrates can also be produced," adds Martín-García. More research is needed to make it as durable as silicon solar panels, but it is already four times more economical to produce.
9. Disease control by smart phone
Technology is increasingly used to solve real-world health problems. Tuberculosis (TB) is a big problem in India, killing 480,000 people every year, and it is highly infectious. The GSMA has created a pilot study in Uttar Pradesh to track the movements of people using GPS on their phones.
"We took data from the Indian government's open-source mapping on TB levels and added anonymous data from AirTel's mobile phone network to see how the local population moves," says Jo Gilbert, global manager of mobile development. platform and products of the GSMA.
The resulting map shows the exact places where people from areas with high TB travel, identifying precisely where the authorities should put mobile clinics and focus awareness campaigns.
10. The holographic beams of Pivotal Commware
The big telecommunications companies agreed on a way to create masts of 5G mobile phones, and they work in a similar way to 4G, extending bandwidth equally in all directions. That is a great waste. So Pivotal Commware, based in Seattle, has found a way to focus radiofrequency energy directly on a moving target, such as a reflector.
"We create software-defined antennas that maximize capacity and coverage, and squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of the spectrum," says Brian Deutsch, CEO of Pivotal Commware.
"Even in cities you can get an incorrect telephone signal if you are on the edge of a cell [area of coverage] so with this technique, you can simply move the edge of the cell to a place where there are fewer people", He says.
Such high-fidelity beams could even allow a massive 5G bandwidth to follow a person wherever they go. It's no wonder that Microsoft's founder, Bill Gates, is an investor.