Robotic arm signs Lion’s fan shirts in Vodaphone event

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Vodaphone has showcased the power of its network in the world’s first 5G shirt signing, with a robotic arm autographing British & Irish Lions jerseys live from South Africa.

Using a precision robot, motion control technology and Vodafone’s low latency 5G network, three Lions players signed jerseys live for fans in the UK, from over 8,000 miles away.

As the player made contact on a tablet with a stylus in South Africa, a robot arm stationed in London mirrored the player’s hand movements, allowing them to write directly onto the fan’s jersey in real-time, while on a video call.

Furthermore, the 5G-powered robot enabled the Lions players, Maro Itoje, Chris Harris and Ken Owens, to write a personal message onto the jersey.

Sir Ian McGeechan, who coached the Lions four times, watched as the 5G-powered robot signed a fan’s shirt

Max Taylor, consumer director at Vodafone, said: “For the fans that would have gone on this Lions tour to South Africa, getting a signed shirt would be one of the highlights of the trip. The pandemic risked stopping that from happening – but we’ve used 5G to find a way to make it a reality.

“Throughout this tour, we’ve used technology and innovation to overcome barriers, and I’m delighted that we’ve given these fans a unique experience and something that they can treasure forever. A 5G-signed shirt is going to be a priceless souvenir from what is already proving to be a memorable tour.”

Vodaphone, lead partner of the Lions, said the ‘8,000 Mile Auto5Graph’ is a 5G-based activation developed to connect fans to the Tour like never before.

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