Doctors are increasingly busy in today’s hospitals and are often needed in multiple places at a time. But what if they could save time, money and lives by carrying out examinations remotely?

A connected glove that carries out procedures from any distance could be in use in our hospitals sooner than you think.

Ericsson, BT, Neutodigital Spain, Room One and King’s College London have been collaborating on such a project, which allows a doctor to wear a sensory glove hooked up to a robotic arm elsewhere via 5G and the cloud.

The mechanical arm has two pressure sensors on the end which detect surfaces and transmit what they feel back to the glove. There’s also a 360-degree video stream so doctors can see what they are doing.

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The technology could pave the way to surgical procedures in the future, potentially providing patients with treatment from a specialist based on the other side of the world.

The team behind the connected glove has been showing off the technology at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017. Speaking to at the annual event, Ericsson research manager Cristian Norlin said: “What we’re doing here is investigating various use cases for 5G.

“Expertise in one area is a scarce commodity. So the question is, how can you prolong that? How can you extend that to other places? It could be within a city, between hospitals. It could also be between a city and a rural area for instance. That is a challenge that we think we’re on the brink of solving right now.”

Norlin said that working with mobile operators is crucial to making the project work, adding: “BT is an essential part.

The hardware required to build the network might be built by Ericsson but it’s definitely being built for, configured by and in collaboration with various operators, so in that sense BT is a very important part of such an ecosystem.”

The technology works today, but is not yet widely available. first presented the connected glove via a Facebook Live from MWC on February 28, which you can watch again by clicking here.