According to a recent article on IBM’s annual “5 in 5” conference, the future of sensory technology is expected to take the industry by storm. These formal talks take place every year, pertaining specifically to predictions about technological innovations. Industry experts and authorities discuss the five-year future of technology that will change the way people work, live and interact all over the world. Ultimately, this year’s conference entailed how computers will eventually have the ability to mimic human senses.
The breakthroughs in computer technology will have more specific results, as explained below.
Touch: Imagine shopping for clothes and being able to feel the silk, cotton or any other extravagant material right through the screen on your computer. Even smartphones are expected to start developing this technology. Among many other industries, retail will be transformed by this revolutionary technology; the way people shop will never be the same. Vibration capabilities in phones, more specifically, will consist of patterns precise enough that represent an experience of touching. These patterns will vary depending on a material, but will emulate the physical sensation of actually touching it.
Sight: In the next five years, computers may have quasi-cognitive abilities that will allow them to analyze the various features of images. Features like color, texture patterns and edging information would actually be interpreted from visual media. The retail, healthcare and agriculture industries will especially change as a result of this technology. It will change the ways medical images like MRIs, CT scans and X-rays actually convey information. Even ultrasound images will capture information, as opposed to just visualizations, tailored to anatomy and pathologies.
Sound: Imagine hearing “baby talk” and not understanding what infants and toddlers are trying to communicate. Sensory technology of sound will change this, as it will have sensory detectors that will receive data from raw sounds. With an ability to recognize patterns and access previously input information, computers will be able to classify and interpret sounds.
In the next five years, a dispersed system of ingenious sensors will distinguish elements of sound like pressure, vibrations and waves at various frequencies. Interpreting these inputs, it will be able to prophesize when trees will fall in a forest or when disasters like landslides are imminent. This kind of system will “listen” to surroundings, measuring movements or stress levels in a material, and warn users of certain danger.
Taste: IBM researchers and developers have already started devising a computing system that can actually experience flavor. By breaking down ingredients to a molecular level and blending food chemistry of compounds, the possibilities are endless. It will use algorithms to determine exact chemical structures of foods and examine how various compounds interact with each other. By examining the molecular complexity of various flavor compounds, as well as their bonding structure, it can use new technological models to determine new recipes.
This sensory technology will also utilize the known psychology behind human preference of certain flavors and smells. It can then cross-reference with millions of recipes and be able to form new flavor combinations. For instance, it can pair roasted chestnuts with other foods like cooked beetroot or dry-cured ham.