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A virtual stroll down Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia boulevard

Pilot project unveils mixed reality headset with local information and letting users explore buildings, book hotel rooms, and even go shopping 

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19 November 2019 02:30 PM

by

Cristina Tomàs White | Barcelona

5G technology arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday, with a pilot project involving augmented reality goggles allowing visitors to explore the city's Passeig de Gràcia boulevard.

The '5G Interactive City' project lets tourists "see" and interact with what is inside the avenue's landmarks and shops using Magic Leap mixed reality headsets.

In this pilot, users could get information about buildings, buy tickets to Antoni Gaudí's Pedrera or Casa Batlló houses, book a room in one a hotel, or shop in local stores.

"At first I wasn't sure how to use it but it's quite easy and intuitive. You can do loads of things without even having to move," said Teresa Vives after trying the experience.

  • "At first I wasn't sure how to use it but it's quite easy and intuitive. You can do loads of things without even having to move"

    Teresa Vives · User

The Barcelona resident added that the experience using the mixed reality headset "also tells you a lot about the local area." "It seemed very useful to me," she added.

Pilot just "a first step"

'5G Interactive City' is a project from the 5G Barcelona initiative in conjunction with the Mediapro multimedia group, and telecommunications multinational Orange.

Presented as part of the Smart City Expo World Congress taking place in Barcelona, 5G Barcelona's executive director, Eduard Martín, described the pilot as "a first step."

"Today's pilot project is a first step in adapting the tourist experience to the new digital reality and the new technological devices available," he said.

The extra bandwidth of 5G technology allows for downloading huge quantities of data at high speeds, allowing users to interact with their environment "virtually and in real time."

Developing 5G technology

Given its potential, Martín also urged the authorities and technology companies to make greater efforts in developing 5G technology in the Catalan capital.

"We think that by 2025 it will have reached everyone. The network will be more advanced but so will the headsets and the software they use," the executive director added.

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  • A user of the virtual reality goggles in Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia, on November 19, 2019 (by Jordi Bataller)

  • A user of the virtual reality goggles in Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia, on November 19, 2019 (by Jordi Bataller)

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