With smartphones and their touchscreens, we were given the ability to interact with the internet like never before—we could touch, pinch, and zoom in on webpages—but aside from occasional popups and notifications, we didn’t get much interaction in return. The next generation of wireless devices could change that.
In perhaps 20 years, we could have a wireless network that would send and receive vast amounts of data in less than one millisecond. At that speed, we would be able to match the reaction speed the human body has to touching something, meaning we could control objects anywhere in the world, in real time, from a mobile device and get the sensation that we were controlling something right in front of us.
Gerhard Fettweis, a professor at the Dresden University of Technology, believes that 5G, the next generation of wireless technology, could be fast enough to create a network of instant-reaction internet devices, mimicking the experience of real life. A study released in December exploring the future of 5G includes Fettweis’ connectivity concept, which he’s calling the “Tactile Internet.”