With less than five years to go until Back to the Future Part II becomes a contemporary movie, those darn hoverboards are still proving elusive. But IBM believes there’ll be at least five technological advances by 2015 that are almost as impressive.
The company has asked around 3,000 of its research employees to come up with predictions of technology that will be with us inside of five years, and collated the results. Perhaps not unexpectedly 3-D interfaces were among the top five suggestions, most notably the idea that by 2015 we’ll be using smartphones that not only carry video chat, but do so through a pseudo-hologram display.
While I can see that happening at some point (even if 2015 seems a bit close to get the processing for both the camera and screen into pocket-sized devices), this really does seem like an advance that’s all about what’s possible rather than what’s wanted. Then again, with Apple’s FaceTime already attracting the interest of adult chatline services, I suppose 3-D might be a boost for the more voluptuous chat host.
The other predictions are:
Batteries will get their power from a reaction between “energy dense metal” and air, lasting as much as 10 times longer than today’s models. At some point, kinetically charged transistors, powered solely by movement, could make batteries redundant in portable devices.
Mobile phone apps and portable sensors will be available to collate environmental data on a truly global scale, allowing individuals to play their part in tackling climate change or monitoring tsunami risks with minimal effort.
Navigation systems will make better use of data about both road traffic and public transportation so that users get advised about the best way to travel before they set off.
Data centers will be designed to better harness and reuse the heat produced in data centers and the energy used to cool the servers.