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Ahead of the game: four ways that 5G is already transforming gaming

The latest episode of Samsung’s podcast ‘Whatever Next?’ is all about the ways that 5G is improving gaming. But, as it turns out, the impact of these breakthroughs will be seen in nearly every aspect of our lives…

Written by Time Out. Paid for by Samsung

If you haven’t listened yet to ‘Whatever Next?’ – the new Samsung podcast hosted by mathematician Dr Hannah Fry and comedian Suzi Ruffell – then you really need to get on it. Each episode dives into the mind-blowing (and world-improving) tech advancements made possible by 5G. Soon, we could be hanging out with our friends as 3D holograms, living in fully connected smart homes where a coffee is ready for you the minute you step out of the shower, or having our smart bins sort the recycling for us. We’ve pulled out some highlights from the most recent episode.

1. Control a game with your body

Controllers? Forget about ’em. In the past, the barrier to moving across to VR (virtual reality) was the clunkiness of the headsets and the time lag, which can cause motion sickness. Seamless, cloudbased VR games that you can play anywhere require huge amounts of data and low latency (data transfer time, basically) – and that’s where 5G comes in. Not only will games become more fluid and immersive, but you’ll be able to ‘see’ your fellow players as you play, thanks to facialscanning technology.

2. … or even your mind!

Yep, it’s true – and it’s already happening. UK-based company MyndPlay has made it possible to control a game with your emotional state. One game involves illuminating a lightsaber blade purely by concentrating. Beyond gaming, just imagine the possibilities: those with limited mobility could use it to control appliances at home or even motorised wheelchairs.

Life-saving game technology
Photograph: Samsung

3. Life-saving game technology

The low latency and real time-data transmission made possible through 5G has all sorts of potential outside gaming. In Massachusetts, Verizon’s 5G Lab has created some very clever robots which can enter disaster zones and provide ‘eyes’ on the ground (for doing very helpful things like spotting trapped people). Then, teams can enter the area and know exactly where to go. In life-or-death situations like these, lightning-fast reactions are essential – which is exactly what 5G can facilitate.

4. Cure your fears with VR

You’re probably aware that exposure therapy works very well when treating phobias and even PTSD – but why bother actually going up in a glass lift to the top of a skyscraper when you could do it through VR? VR therapy could help people overcome their fears from the comfort of their home, and real-time touch sensory exposure can make it all the more real. That means virtual spiders…

Listen to episode three, ‘Mind-controlled Gaming’, on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.

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