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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Weird and wonderful of tech innovation at Gitex 2018

Flying cars and robot pharmacists are just some of the latest innovations on show during Gitex Technology Week

Du's booth at Gitex Technology Week offered a mirror screen where visitors were able to fly across landscapes from the UAE. Reem Mohammed/The National
Du's booth at Gitex Technology Week offered a mirror screen where visitors were able to fly across landscapes from the UAE. Reem Mohammed/The National

From flying cars to automated pizza delivery carts, the first day of Gitex Technology Week 2018 did not disappoint in its usual fare of weird and wonderful offerings from the world of innovation.

The halls of Dubai World Trade centre were filled with all manner of technologies, some new, others reinvented, but judging by the crowds — this week in Dubai’s growing conference season is a popular as ever.

The Etisalat stage in Zabeel Hall was once again the most eye-catching showpiece, although much of the technology on display has been seen before.

Mechanical arms from Yaskawa, a Japanese robotics company, were used to deliver cocktails via the automated MakrShakr robot bartender.

Similar technology was used to demonstrate how prescription drugs may be dispensed from a robotic pharmacist, once a customer had accessed their account via a tablet device or smartphone.

Mediclinic, the UAE's largest private healthcare provider, has set up a mock-up hospital ward at the exhibition to show how doctors can perform surgical procedures remotely.

Thanks to emerging 5G technology, haptic gloves that replicate a surgeon’s precision movements via a robotic arm can now perform minor operations from a distance.

Mechanical arms from Yaskawa were used to deliver cocktails via the automated MakrShakr robot bartender at Gitex. The National
Mechanical arms from Yaskawa were used to deliver cocktails via the automated MakrShakr robot bartender at Gitex. The National

Screen time is the bane of modern parenthood, with families often drawn to their mobile devices for hours at a time, but Japanese start-up firm Mui Lab claims to have the answer.

The firm is part of the Japan External Trade Organisation, a government-related organisation working to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world.

Mui Lab has designed a smart home device that is a little different to the usual Amazon Echo or Google Home device.

It uses natural woods to offer commands and voice activation prompts via an interactive touch panel display, connecting homes with mobile network systems to activate lights, or air conditioning without the need to engage a mobile device.

Swiss company Rinspeed has developed its MicroSnap electric concept car.

Swiss company Rinspeed has developed its MicroSnap electric concept car, on display at Gitex Technology Week 2018. The National
Swiss company Rinspeed has developed its MicroSnap electric concept car, on display at Gitex Technology Week 2018. The National

The solar-power assisted vehicle can be driven manually, but can also switch to autonomous driving to allow the passenger to take an urgent call, answer an email or just catch up on the latest news via the inbuilt information screen.

“This vehicle could be used as a conventional car, or as a mobile office as it is a comfortable pace from where to work,” said Patrick Pralat, car event manager for Rinspeed.

“It could also be used as a restaurant delivery vehicle.

“The car can make all the communications, with the kitchen and the customer who places the order.

“It can collect the food, like a pizza delivery for example, and then deliver it avoiding all the traffic with its built in satellite navigation.”

Meanwhile above the roads, Audi and Airbus have combined to display the latest version of a flying car to beat the rush hour traffic.

The small vehicle can be elevated by four rotor blades, similar to those used in drone technology, to allow drivers to take to the skies in congested city centres.

Although visually impressive, the reality could still be some years away as testing continues.

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