At the end of each year, IBM Research lists "innovations that will change our lives in the next five years." This year's "IBM 5 in 5" is particularly intriguing in that their braintrust is heralding the age of "cognitive computing" — a technological era in which computers and handheld devices can better approximate and even augment human capacities, including all five senses.
Check out these videos to see how IBM plans to make this possible:
"Within the next five years, your mobile device will let you touch what you're shopping for online. It will distinguish fabrics, textures, and weaves so that you can feel a sweater, jacket, or upholstery -– right through the screen."
"Within the next five years, IBM Research thinks that computers will not only be able to look at images, but help us understand the 500 billion photos we're taking every year (that's about 78 photos for each person on the planet)."
"Imagine knowing the meaning behind your child's cry, or maybe even your pet dog's bark, through an app on your smartphone. In the next five years, you will be able to do just that thanks to algorithms embedded in cognitive systems that will understand any sound."
"...we may not realize that the way we perceive flavors and the characteristics of a "good" meal are fundamentally chemical and neural. In five years, computers will be able to construct never-before-heard-of recipes to delight palates – even those with health or dietary constraints – using foods' molecular structure."
"With every breath, you expel millions of different molecules. Some of these molecules are biomarkers, which can carry a plethora of data about your physical state at any given moment. By capturing the information they carry, technology can pick up clues about your health and provide valuable diagnostic information to your physician."