UAE researches unveil telecom technologies

Emirates researchers have showcased work on remote-controlled search-and-rescue robots and audiovisual technologies.

Emirates researchers have showcased work on remote-controlled search-and-rescue robots and audiovisual technologies in the lead-up to the launch of the Middle East's first telecommunications research centre. The innovations are part of ongoing efforts by the Federal Government and Abu Dhabi authorities towards their ambitious target to become a hub for telecoms and scientific innovation.

The research, conducted by students at the Khalifa University for Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR), focused on new applications of telecoms technology. One project looked into how the brain identifies where a sound is coming from. The concept, known as binaural sound localisation, is considered promising in ultra-realistic teleconferencing systems, where participants are given the illusion of sharing a room with callers hundreds or thousands of kilometres away. Three other projects explored how communications technology can be applied to challenging search-and-rescue efforts through the use of robotics.

The centre's major backers, Etisalat and the British giant, BT, say the new research centre - to be known at the Etisalat BT Innovation Centre (EBTIC) - will eventually employ 100 scientists who will develop technologies for use in telecoms networks. Etisalat is providing funding for the centre and recruiting researchers and staff. EBTIC is "expected to become a driving force for innovation in the field of information and communications technology, both within the Middle East region and beyond," said Arif al Hammadi, the manager of KUSTAR.

BT, the former UK telecoms monopoly that now earns almost US$30 billion (Dh110.19bn) in revenue each year from operations in 170 countries, will provide staff and management expertise. "The UAE is well known for innovation as well as its rapid acceptance of new technology. This has helped it to become a true hub for business, tourism and trade. With the introduction of EBTIC, we are also supporting the rise of the UAE as a hub for research in the field of telecommunications," said Mohammed Omran, the Etisalat chairman, last October.

tgara@thenational.ae

Published: January 15, 2009 04:00 AM

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