5G technology could allow paramedics to diagnose medical problems more quickly, experts say, with the help of a “robo-glove” that can carry out remote-controlled ultrasound scans in an ambulance, or at the scene of an accident.
The glove, which was demonstrated by physicians in the UK last week, can conduct a scan and relay real-time results to a clinician at a hospital.
The system allows the clinician to move the glove with a joystick and operates over a public 5G network. Britain is moving toward implementing 5G, despite privacy concerns over the involvement of Chinese company Huawei in the process.
“The superfast speeds of 5G ensure sharper and more reliable imagery for the clinician than could previously be achieved,” according to University Hospitals Birmingham, which has worked on the technology alongside telecoms company BT and delivery consortium West Midlands 5G.
“5G has the potential to help us provide better care, at the patient’s side, and provide increasingly diverse treatment plans for patients,” Craig Cooke, Strategic Operations Director at the West Midlands Ambulance Service, added in a statement.
The glove creates small vibrations to direct the paramedic’s hand to where the clinician wants the ultrasound sensor to be moved.
There will also be a camera placed in the ambulance to transmit a view of the paramedic and the patient to the clinician.
Britain’s plans to implement 5G have been overshadowed by the United States’ attempts to put pressure on its allies to ban Huawei components from 5G networks. The Trump administration alleges that Huawei products could be used by China for spying, which Huawei has repeatedly denied.
In a compromise solution, Britain will reportedly ban products made by Huawei from the “core” of next-generation 5G telecoms infrastructure.
EE, the UK’s largest mobile carrier, began trialing 5G wireless in a handful of regions in May. Customers can access the new network using new smartphones from makers including Samsung, OnePlus, LG and Oppo.