Ultrasonic-Based Environmental Perception for Mobile 5G-Oriented XR Applications

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Feb 13;21(4):1329. doi: 10.3390/s21041329.


One of the sectors that is expected to significantly benefit from 5G network deployment is eXtended Reality (XR). Besides the very high bandwidth, reliability, and Quality of Service (QoS) to be delivered to end users, XR also requires accurate environmental perception for safety reasons: this is fundamental when a user, wearing XR equipment, is immersed in a "virtual" world, but moves in a "real" environment. To overcome this limitation (especially when using low-cost XR equipments, such as cardboards worn by the end user), it is possible to exploit the potentialities offered by Internet of Things (IoT) nodes with sensing/actuating capabilities. In this paper, we rely on ultrasonic sensor-based IoT systems to perceive the surrounding environment and to provide "side information" to XR systems, then performing a preliminary experimental characterization campaign with different ultrasonic IoT system configurations worn by the end user. The combination of the information flows associated with XR and IoT components is enabled by 5G technology. An illustrative experimental scenario, relative to a "Tourism 4.0" IoT-aided VR application deployed by Vodafone in Milan, Italy, is presented.

Keywords: 5G; Internet of Things (IoT); Tourism 4.0; eXtended Reality (XR); future-proof applications; integration; ultrasonic sensors.