Etisalat’s top 5 tech bits at Gitex Technology Week

From a self-supporting robot that could change the lives of disabled people to architecture lessons in augmented reality, we highlight some of the most cutting-edge stuff on display at a stand made entirely of... displays

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Exhibitions share a common look. Regardless of where in the world you’re attending one, the experience is sure to feel clichéd. But that’s before you walk into this year’s Etisalat stand at Gitex Technology Week at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The two-tiered stand is spread over 1,800 sq m and and is constructed entirely of screens. No surface isn’t a screen: the walls, staircase and even ceiling decorations are displays assaulting your senses. This motif mainly supports Etisalat’s theme this year: Sparking Innovation.

The telecoms operator is showcasing an immense amount of technology progress in the likes of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The show covers advances in digital education, connected health care, IoT and more. From robots that speak to you to a whole new system of learning, everything’s at this stand.

Here are the top five things you shouldn’t miss if you’re down at Gitex Technology Week:

  1. Connect Health Care: Amana Healthcare Rex Bionics

    • Rex is the world’s first hands-free, self-supporting, independently controlled robotic mobility device designed for people with mobility impairments. The robotic device is in action at the show, displaying how it works to help patients with spinal injuries or other ailments that have left them disabled. Rex doesn’t require crutches or a walking frame, while providing stability and removing the hassles of regular wheelchair use.
  2. Active VR: Icaros

    • I love VR and hate planking. This part of the stand was very confusing at first but turned out to lots of fun. It’s an example of how technology can make something boring and inane immensely entertaining. Icaros is machine that harnesses the mechanics of VR technology to make exercise an immersive, exhilarating process. You basically hop on the machine and it works as an entire controller that in turn reacts to enable gameplay on your VR headset.
  3. Connected Retail: Smart Ring

    • The Smart Ring is one of the niftiest creations at the Etisalat stand. It’s claimed this wearable can entirely replace your wallet and all the cards in it by storing the information inside a little ring you can wear and keep connected with your devices. Once you’ve synced your data with the ring, all you need to do is tap it on it a corresponding NFC tag and it’ll fish out the required information.
  4. Digital Education: 3D, VR and AR Learning

    • Have you ever wished you could go back to school? Not for the fun stuff, but to actually study? No right! Well, this part of the stand will make you wish you were born a generation later just to study. We tinkered with a display that helps you understand the structure and physical aspects of a human heart… in 3D! Another section showed how it will be to study using the Microsoft Hololens, whereby AR can be used to understand everything from architecture to mechanics and more.
  5. Robotics: Robothespian

    • Last but certainly not least was the Robothespian. An interactive humanoid robot at Etisalat’s Gitex stand, Robothespian has LCD displays for eyes, uses compressed air for hand actions and has electric motors for mouth and neck movements. It can reply to questions such as “What is the date?” or “How are you?” and has been designed to create customer engagement in places such as exhibitions or museums.

There’s a lot more at the stand to be seen, including the Robot Café, 5G networks and more.