By Ulrika Engström Senior Researcher, Antenna systems and Pex Tufvesson Senior Researcher, device software
Submitted by Ericsson
Future 6G networks will open new technological possibilities for immersive, ubiquitous, and sensory digital experiences. Big technologies such as exoskeletons and the Internet of Senses could transform even the littlest of things for many disabled or immobile people, from breakfast to socializing with friends. Below, Ericsson researchers share their personal stories on how they envision old age in the era of 6G.
Health care and wellness-focused applications are among the potential 6G use cases in the 2030 timeframe that attract the most intrigue. And as researchers in the field of 6G, we have realized and are convinced that healthcare and digital inclusion will become even more important – and a pre-requisite – for a sustainable future. But we must also be careful to keep in mind the perspective of the people we hope will benefit from technology.
When I grow old I'd really like to uphold my autonomy and do ordinary things: the kind of things that we probably all take for granted today. I would like to get up early in the morning, and I probably still long for my first cup of fresh black coffee. As an 80-years plusworld citizen, my limbs will sometimes work and sometimes not. But I know that I would still like to manage on my own.
Maybe I want to stay a bit longer than usual in bed this morning, and instead of needing to call for my care worker, I can simply think and my 6G-connected exoskeleton will arrive seconds later, communicated via think. The wonderful smell and taste of the black coffee is made even more enjoyable thanks to the fact that I succeeded to brew it on my own, without the annoying trembling of earlier days.
Enjoying the same freedom, I also make myself breakfast, cutting ripe fruit with that sharp knife I rediscovered I could use again. I love the smell of golden butter on a hot frying pan, especially with the combination of chantarelles. It’s so appetizing! They used to say the iron pan was too heavy for me, but life is better now. Mornings are better now, thanks to the little things.
It’s Friday, again
I realize there might be some early spring flowers to pick in the forest. I recall the wonderful scent, the smell of the fresh anemones, so I grasp the opportunity to get outdoors. After quite some walking, I spot the target: fresh shy white wood anemones. I kneel so that I can smell and pick them. What an amazing smell! The satisfaction of being able to get up with a bouquet of these flowers in my hand, and then back home on my own is almost overwhelming. I am so inspired and grateful that I manage on my own although many may say that I am too old for this. The long days feel shorter now, thanks to the little things.
Speaking of fun achievements, last Saturday I had arena tickets for a rock concert – it was Massive! In my youth, I used to be in the front row, me and the crowd going nuts – and I still do! The strong beats made me dance almost all night. I’m in love with the bass player, who’s 50 years younger so I better keep that to myself. The memories are more vivid now, thanks to the little things.
I also long to meet my wonderful granddaughter, just to see her and hold her hand and listen to her kind enquiring voice, feel her presence, and gently caress her little hand. Friday is our storytelling day. She has such a vivid imagination! Said and done, we get connected via think. Lovely. I feel so warm and happy when we meet, as always. The miles are shorter now, thanks to the little things.
Time flies, and it’s time for my refreshing weekly boule game together with José and his dear friends. I really appreciate the feeling and sense of a perfect throw, but I need to hold back. On the other hand, I know José would be angry with me if he found out I was letting him win on purpose most of the time. The friendships are closer now, thanks to the little things.
Suddenly, I sense the wet nose of an old friend – Emma, my dear companion and dog of many years. She’s eager to take a walk with me, as always, so I take her leash. Thankfully, my exoskeleton can protect me and restrain her when she spots a bird to catch and tries a chase – without it I wouldn’t dare to handle her on my own. I feel refreshed, despite the weather changing and that it’s cloudy, soon getting dark. Emma and I stroll down the path, and after this we’re both eager to get home and sit by the fireplace. After watching the fire settling, I’m thinking “bedtime soon”, but it’s been such a good day that I don’t want it to end just yet. Life is more enjoyable now, thanks to the little things.
The research journey to a more inclusive society
Making our world a better and more sustainable place to live in is one of the key drivers for us at Ericsson. A better, more inclusive world for everyone also means providing a good life for the elderly who have served, raised and nurtured us.
The basic core values and needs that make us human remain even as we grow older, such as the ability to sense, touch, hear, smell, and communicate, to socialize with our nearest and dearest and not least the ability to manage on our own. These are perspectives and aspects we want to keep front and center in our research and what we have tried to bring forward in this blog post.
Wireless networks already play an important role in achieving sustainability and inclusion goals, and with 5G and beyond there is clear potential to further accelerate their contribution.
Together with partners in collaborations like Hexa-X and Next G Alliance, we are working every day to overcome key research challenges and contribute to a future society which is more inclusive and sustainable for everyone.
Curious about the technology research related to this vision?
Read our research outlook on the future 6G-connected cyber-physical world.
Learn more about the Internet of Senses – including the all-now concert arena – in Ericsson’s 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2030.
Read the blogpost: Scaling assistive healthcare technology with 5G - Ericsson
Get an overview of our 6G research.
Read more about Ericsson’s vision for a sustainable world.
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