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Vodafone today marked the official switch-on of its highly anticipated 5G network with a world-first stunt transmitting touch over 5G, using haptic technology.

Vodafone UK gets off to a flying start for 5G with help from Lewis Hamilton 1

Standing in front of a live audience at the Sky Garden in London, Wasps rugby star Juan De Jongh buckled under the impact of a tackle made 100 miles away from Coventry’s Ricoh Stadium by his team mate Will Rowlands.

De Jongh, who was wearing a full-body Teslasuit which simulated the impact of the tackle, 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.”

Children from Old Leamingtonians RFC Juniors in Coventry were also able to try out their tackling skills on De Jongh by running towards a padded cylinder containing sensors. Detecting contact, the sensors transmitted a physical sense of impact instantaneously to De Jongh’s haptic suit.

Scott Petty, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone said: “This stunt truly demonstrates the power and capabilities of Vodafone’s 5G network. The speed and low latency of the network opens a wealth of new opportunities that have not been possible before.​ One of the most exciting is haptic communication technology that allows people to feel physical sensations remotely. Haptic technology like this will play a huge part in the future from healthcare to gaming.”

Teslasuit’s full body haptic feedback system provides users with sensation and a sense of touch in virtual and augmented reality. This electro-stimulation improves the learning experience by increasing immersion, fostering 360-degree awareness and engaging muscle memory.

Vodafone UK gets off to a flying start for 5G with help from Lewis Hamilton 2

Vodafone’s 5G network, switched on this morning by Formula 1 Five-Time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, is now officially live in a total of seven cities, and will be live across 19 towns and cities across the UK by the end of 2019. Hamilton was also announced as Vodafone’s first UK 5G ambassador.

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