ee robot barber shave

Robot Barber uses 5G to carry out remote beard shave

Image credit: ee

EE’s 5G network has been used to give 'Lucifer' actor Tom Ellis a shave using a remotely controlled robotic arm.

The barber, who was based in Clapton, London, was 250 miles away from Ellis who was located 729 metres above sea level on Snowden in Wales.

Ellis, who was connected via 4G, used his phone to videocall the barber, who was on a 5G connection, so he could see what he was doing and remotely operate the robot arm without causing any cuts.


EE’s Robot Barber arm, developed by The Mill, features a fully mechanical custom-designed hand that grasps the razor blade and carefully mirrors the gestures of the barber who, through the use of five tracking markers and state of the art motion-capture technology, is being tracked precisely as he moves.

The network demonstration relies on low-latency and high-speed data transfer via the 5G network to ensure a smooth shave.

Enabling motion data from the sensors attached to the barber’s custom-made gloves and his specially crafted razor to be transferred in real-time, updating the arm’s position at hundreds of beats a second, to sync with the Robot Barber arm at Snowdon.

EE said the precision of the technology was so accurate, that viewers could see the barber breathing by looking at the robot arm.

With accuracy to less than one-tenth of a millimetre, real-time tracking and precise robotic control, Ellis’ received a clean-shave for the first time in six years.

ee robot barber shave

Image credit: ee

“Getting shaved by a robotic barber is a pretty extreme way of showcasing the importance of a high-performing network, but I figured someone’s got to put their neck on the line,” Ellis said.

Sam Kemp, Products and Devices Technology Director at EE, said: “We’ve got 4G that covers 99 per cent of the UK population and 5G in more places than any other network. But our job isn’t done.

“Our network opens a world of opportunity, enabling our customers to do more – that’s why it’s important that we’re first with new ideas, finding new and innovative ways to show the performance of our network live and for real.”

In 2018 Vodafone used its 5G network to trial a holographic video call in real-time.


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