Beam up your friends and power cities with your computer - the five innovations of the next five years

Wednesday 29 December 2010 01:00

Computer company IBM released its fifth annual "Next Five in Five " list of innovations that have the potential  to change the way people act, play, work and travel over the next five years.

According to IBM's Next Five in Five , released December 27, the five innovations that could possibly change our lives over the next five years are:

1. Beam up friends in 3D
IBM predicts that in five years, 3D interfaces similar to those used in 3D films will develop to the point where people are able to "beam up" a 3D hologram of their friends in real time. This same technology could also be used to provide accurate 3D maps of architectural design, allowing the designers to walk around the building before it is completed.

2. Batteries will use air for power
Batteries could be developed that use air to react with energy-dense metals in order to produce power.  IBM notes that this technology could reduce the weight of batteries used in electrical cars and lead to the creation of higher performance electric vehicles.

3. Everyday data will be used to help save the planet
IBM predicts that a new class of citizen scientists will emerge: amateur scientists who use sensors embedded in personal electronic devices, as well as posts on social media sites such as Twitter, to provide scientists with an accurate real-time image of the planet. For example, citizen scientists could report if a stream dries up or when bees begin appearing, allowing professional scientists to track changes and spot discrepancies.

4. Commuting will become personalized
Advanced analytical software will be able to provide consumers with information on their fastest possible route based upon personal data such as their departure time, start time and preferred method of transport while also accounting for external factors such as changes in the weather.  

5. Computers will help energize cities
IBM predicts that innovations in computer design will allow the excess energy produced by laptops, desktops and data centers to be recycled as a means of heating buildings or powering air conditioning units or even providing a city's energy supply.

A video summarizing these predictions is  on YouTube at:

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