Spark showcases 5G-powered robotics, gaming prototypes

Spark New Zealand Logo

Six months after being named as winners of the Spark 5G Starter Fund, four innovative Kiwi businesses are launching their game-changing technology prototypes, offering a first look at the positive outcomes 5G can bring to communities across New Zealand.

Robotics company Rocos, VR gaming creator Beyond and health businesses Objective Acuity and oDocs Eye Care were the successful recipients of a share of $625,000 of funding and technology support from Spark in October 2020.

Since then, each business has been tirelessly developing, testing and refining its 5G solution tapping into expert 5G technical support and business mentoring by Spark and its partners.

This involved an exclusive opportunity to test and co-create each 5G-powered solution inside Spark’s new Innovation Studio that launched to the public in March 2021.

Entry criteria for Spark’s initiative required the technology concepts to demonstrate how 5G could bring positive outcomes to communities across New Zealand.

Spark’s Technology Director, Mark Beder says that the Spark 5G Starter Fund uncovered some of New Zealand’s most innovative 5G pioneers.

“Each winner is set to make history by being amongst the first in the country to embrace the powerful potential of our 5G network to revolutionise their respective industries. From democratising eyecare, developing a world-first immersive gaming experiences and taking the manufacturing industry to new, robotic heights, Spark is proud to support these four Kiwi businesses to deliver transformative solutions for New Zealand and New Zealanders.”

oDocs is on a mission to make eyecare globally accessible, equitable and affordable. Using the power of 5G, oDocs has developed a secure and encrypted live consultation portal that serves to connect healthcare professionals to patients in remote regions. 5G technology makes it possible for clinicians, expert and non-expert, to conduct an instantaneous live-stream consultation using a 5G enabled device attached to a handheld ophthalmoscope. The portal will empower and enable all clinicians for appropriate triaging and referrals to ophthalmologists, reducing waiting lists for screening and follow-up, thus improving the management of the healthcare workforce.

Objective Acuity is breaking away from the traditional and often unreliable letter chart vision test by using 5G technology to develop a suite of software-based vision screening and acuity tests that are more accessible and accurate for detecting vision problems in younger children. Spark 5G enables Objective Acuity to further improve accuracy and make testing up to 7 times more efficient through a real-time result. It will soon use AI to optimise the test automatically as data is collected – helping Objective Acuity towards its ultimate goal of democratising vision screening.

Beyond, a Wellington-based virtual reality game studio, has developed a world-first for the e-sport market – the ability for multiple gamers to join free-roam, virtual reality game Oddball via their 5G mobile phone, opening the location-based VR gaming world to those without a VR headset. The application is made possible through 5G, which in the future will ensure no players experience any lag and enables both physical VR and mobile players to interact seamlessly and safely together. 5G enables Beyond to bring immersive VR to the masses like never before. High speed enables 4k streaming of our content on mobile phones and players will be able to join in on the fun in real-time.

Rocos is demonstrating the power of 5G by showcasing how remote teleoperation and robotic automation can be used to revolutionise industries. The mass connectivity and low latency that 5G will provide in the future, will make it possible to automate physical tasks at scale, improving the capability of autonomous missions undertaken by robots, such as scanning and monitoring a construction site or power grid, thereby reducing health and safety risks.

The 5G Starter Fund winners are showcasing their 5G technology solutions during a Media Demo Day on May 6.