IBM has released its fifth annual “Five in Five” forecasts, illustrating five technology innovations it believes will come to pass in the next five years. And while each of the predictions is intriguing, one is certainly capturing a lot of attention: mobile phones with built-in holographic projectors so users can get a 3D view of the people with whom they’re speaking…and maybe cute little blue-and-grey robots too.
IBM’s technological forecasts include:
- Ubiquitous simple sensors in electronic devices that turn everyday people into “citizen scientists,” automatically reporting things like climatic data (first freeze, first thaw, dry streams, etc.) as well as helping emergency responders and others in the event of a natural disaster.
- Two-way, 3D holographic-based communication technology will begin appearing in a wide variety of communications devices—including cell phones—enabling new levels of communications between people, as well as workplace collaboration. IBM forecasts the technology will enable users to interact with 3D objects (and people!) in real time.
- Batteries that “breathe air” to obtain oxygen to generate power, as well advances in battery technology that enable electronics to operate about 10 times longer than they do today. IBM also forecasts that advances in static and kinetic electricity will be able to eliminate batteries from some small electronic devices.
- Energy and heat generated by computer data centers will be repurposed to heat (and cool) buildings.
- Adaptive traffic systems will move beyond current GPS routing technology to learn traffic patterns and behaviors that help commuters move in and around cities in the most efficient way possible at any given time.
So, this being the fifth annual “Five in Five” forecast from IBM, how is the company doing with its predictions from 2006? One thing they forecast in the first “Five in Five” list was instantaneous computerized speech translation, and that hasn’t happened yet. However, in 2007 IBM forecast cell phones would be used as shopping assistants, banks, ticket services, and wallets—so it looks like they’re occasionally ahead of the game.
Check out IBM’s 2010 Five in Five presentation video: