Tech Talk #14: The Shape Of Things To Come…

This Issue: What the Bods at the Big Blue are Predicting for the Next 5 Years, New Apps for XBox Live and the Truly Gob-Smacking Revelation that the Mayans 2nd Biggest Prediction for 2012, was that Apple Maps would Sweep the World Over…

Technologies We Can All Look Forward Too… Courtesy of IBM

IBM may not be the world force they once were commercially (remember the phrase “no-one ever got fired for buying IBM”), but in terms of R&D they are still a pack leader, and last month they released their seventh annual  “IBM 5 in 5” – a list of innovations that may have the potential to change the way people interact daily with technology over the course of the next five years. Specifically:

  • Touch: You will be able to touch through your phone
  • Sight: A pixel will be worth a thousand words
  • Hearing: Computers will hear what matters
  • Taste: Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter
  • Smell: Computers will have a sense of smell

The IBM 5 in 5 is based on a mix of market & social trends, as well as those “emerging technologies” from IBM’s own worldwide network of R&D labs. This year, the “IBM 5 in 5” flew under the banner of “the era of cognitive systems”, citing that a new generation of machines will learn, adapt, sense and begin to experience the world as it really is, using say MEMS technology, as opposed to conversion to a purely digital translation. Here are a couple of predictions that will define the future:

Touch: You will be able to touch through your phone – haptic technology is almost upon us, and for some semiconductors giants, the Holy Grail goal is to deliver a kiss over your phone – imagine kissing the screen and your lips feeling the kiss sensation from your recipient. Or shopping online clothes and being able to feel the material. Currently haptic & graphic technology in the gaming industry can take the player into a simulated environment.  Lord knows how the sex industry will use this…

Sight: We take 500 billion photos a year.  72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. But for computers, it’s a mish-mash of code that we tag or title them with – the actual content of the image – is non-sensical to them. Looking forward (excuse the pun), systems will not only be able to look at and recognize images, they will in turn give the pixels meaning, and interpret the contextual aspects of a photograph, such as colour, textures etc. The potential impact on industries such as healthcare, retail and agriculture. Get used to the term Embedded Vision – cameras & processors have become so affordable they will be incorporated into the most unlikely everyday equipment in order to enhance the whole user experience.

Hearing: over the next five years, a arrays of smart sensors will detect longitudinal waves such as of sound such as sound pressure & vibrations. It will “listen” to our surroundings and measure movements, interpret these inputs to predict when geological events will occur, or the stress in a materials such as bridges, to warn us if danger is imminent.

New Xbox apps bring anime, Vimeo and more to Live

Microsoft launched a number of new entertainment apps for Xbox Live. Japanese Anime and Korean TV fanatics will be pleased with the arrival of Crunchyroll, which serves up thousands of Japanese & Korean anime shows all subtitled for your pleasure. Video delivery service Vimeo also arrives on Xbox, and the Verizon FiOS app will today be updated with an additional 49 channels for the US market (only – sorry!).

Here’s a list of some of the new Apps and their applicable regions:

Crunchyroll (Launching in All LIVE Markets excluding Japan, UAE, Slovakia and Saudi Arabia) – Watch your favorite Anime and Asian drama titles in HD with Crunchyroll on Xbox 360. Instantly view over 20,000 episodes of professionally subtitled Anime, Korean drama, and live-action titles in HD. Enhance your Crunchyroll app experience with voice and gesture control via Kinect for Xbox 360.

Vimeo (Launching in United States) – Packed with amazing ways to watch, discover, and share, the Vimeo app for Xbox 360 enables lovers of high-quality videos to view through their console. Follow your Xbox Live friends’ activity on Vimeo, control the app via voice or gesture with Kinect, and access Vimeo on your Xbox 360.

SnagFilms (Launching in United States) – Sit back and watch acclaimed indie movies, from some of the greatest names in film – on demand, for free. SnagFilms brings you the best of its library including hundreds of films from award-winning documentaries to outstanding fiction feature films.

And the Final Words for 2012

Mayans, eh…well the world didn’t end on Dec 21st, and I am compelled to observe that if the Mayans were that good at predicting the future, then how come there aren’t (m)any Mayans left? And clearly taking a leaf out of the Mayans Bumper Book of Top Predictions for 2012, Apple singularly missed the side of the barn in believing that the Apple Maps was worth ditching Google Maps for! Relocating Berlin to the Antarctic, and losing the Statue of Liberty (presumably in a beach on the Planet of the Apes), Apple reminded us that the higher you are, the further you fall, in the double-whammy of ditching proven technology (Google Maps), and launching the Sinclair C5 of mapping apps… better luck in 2013 – please!

Sources:, IBM
Reporter: SilverFox

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