Last year I wrote a detailed post on ‘5G Remote Surgery and Telehealth Solutions’ here. Since then many people with little or no understanding of how the technology works have got in touch with me to educate me about all the 5G remote surgeries taking place.
I am always prepared to learn new things and looked at both of these surgeries (detailed below) with open mind. I was still unable to see the 5G angle here. In fact in the case of banana, I don’t even know if 5G was used.
Back in 2014, a BBC article detailed how a surgeon in Canada has performed over 20 remote surgeries with the help of a robot including colon operations and hernia repairs. The article goes on to ask, “The technology behind long-distance surgery is now mature enough to be used more widely, allowing people to access world-leading expertise and better healthcare without having to travel. Could it become the norm in hospitals?“
The first case is from Aug 2020 as shown in the video above where Doctor Liu Rong from a hospital in Beijing takes on the challenge of remotely controlling a medical robot in distant Qingdao City via the 5G network to finish an egg membrane suture surgery in 90 minutes.
The question here is that where exactly was 5G used and why? Did both the ends have 5G or just one end? Etc. I was unable to find a schematic to show the end-to-end details that would provide credibility to such a scenario.
To explain what I mean, when Vodafone UK launched 5G, they demonstrated low latency by giving an example of Haptic tackle using TeslaSuit. You can read the details and watch the video here.
As you can see, the end-to-end solution architecture is nicely explained as shown in this picture. I would expect a similar kind of schematic for the surgery scenario. While I can clearly understand the use case for sports outdoor, I am not able to understand the use case for the surgery indoors. Where was the access point? What frequency was used? Was this Standalone or Non-Standalone network? And many other questions like these.
The second case was a more recent one. The video is embedded below.
Even though the video mentions 5G and many other sites (see this LinkedIn post with nearly 2.5 million views) that have picked this up mention 5G, the original Instagram video does not mention 5G. In all likelihood there is no 5G connection with this one.
Surely there will be a real life 5G remote surgery use case someday that will capture our imagination but not today.