The robots of MWC 2017

You were nobody if you didn't have a robot demo at Mobile World Congress.

You see 5G could (or will) bring lower latencies, and lower latencies mean you can do things like, say, enable VR applications or drive vehicles from a remote location or conduct remote surgery or something. You could also enable connected robotics, with the final “jump” of connectivity seemingly enabled by a cellular 5G connection. You could.

Anyway all this, of course, is all part of our industry 4.0, Fourth Industrial Revolution etc etc future that we have no choice but to accept and nourish if we want nice treats in Barcelona every year.

So at MWC there was a tonne of VR around the gaff, there was a remote driving demo, there were some stunningly dull but very worthy water meters, cars of varying degrees of connectedness everywhere, but at MWC 2017, nothing said “we need to demonstrate low latency on the booth” like a robotics demo.

At Ericsson’s stand, these speedy little cars were off having great fun being loaded and unloaded just in time by this busy robot, charging off on their automatic ways, never stopping for a donut, to skim a few “damaged” goods from the trailer, or to place a bet on an accumulator your mate has given you the inside track on. Late on the Thursday, a delegation of warehouse workers, forklift truck and HGV drivers forced entry and destroyed this exhibit. But not before they had a go on the cool remote driving demo Ericsson also had on its stand (See tweet below).


The world’s first 5G remote driving concept is a favorite down at the #MWC17 show floor. If you can’t take it for a spin, check it out here!

Here’s a Nokia demo, with ABB’s robot learning, we think, to be a croupier at a roulette table, placing chips  on some good winning combos. That gent getting his bet in late is going to be in trouble with the Casino spotters.  “Rien ne va plus, Mesdames et Messieurs.”

A question that often raises its head at MWC is, “What’s the greatest drum riff/fill/solo of all time?” Collins/the Cadbury’s gorilla, Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, or this guy, hammering away within Huawei’s section of the GSMA’s showcase thing? If 5G is going to make drummers redundant, then it’s hard to be in favour. Are robots going to nurse inferiority complexes about not being proper musicians, carry out years long feuds with lead singers and park Rolls Royce cars in swimming pools? Seems unlikely. Boo.

This isn’t a robot, is it? What’s it doing here? Is it, in fact, just someone flying a drone inside a glass box? Yes. Is it also a demo of a “connected drone”,  illustrating the concept of using base stations to provide positioning to UAVs? Also yes. Were there also a lot of drone demos and the like at MWC? Thrice yes. Let this one stand as an exemplar for its friends.

Finally, this naughty robot didn’t do anything  in all the time your intrepid correspondent stuck around (about 30 seconds, to be fair, which is a fairly long time to be standing in front of an inanimate robot with the creeping sense you are being filmed for a Korean gotcha YouTube channel and pretty soon the robot is going to start mimicking your every movement, haunting your dreams for years with its spot-on interpretation of your bumbling gait and sloped shoulders, while millions of Korean teenagers create entire VLOGS formed only of animated memes of your loser face as it crumples in recognition of this exact robotic recreation of your own insecurities and failures).

No wonder this robot has in fact been fired for crimes against 5G? Or maybe, bear with us, he’s just been… suspended?

No wait, come back… we’ve got some “proper” articles coming soon.