IBM Forecasts Tech’s 5 Next Big Innovations

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Each year, IBM talks about what it calls the “Next Five in Five” – a list of five predictions that big blue sees as coming out sometime within the next five years.  How good are they?  Take a look for yourself and weigh in below.

1. Citizen Scientsts Model the World

Given the rise of smartphones – extremely-capapble, always-connected, mobile computers –  the power to deliver real-time feedback is increasing. IBM sees these cellphones being used to track environmental conditions, from weather to air quality, with an array of ambient and active sensors.  The Internet connections present in each phone then deliver these results for study in aggregate by scientists.

2. Real-time 3D Conferencing

3D is one of 2010’s hottest trends, and it’s only going to grow.  Given the rise of easy-to-use video conferencing, it’s not surprising to think of these two tastes tasting great together. 

3. Batteries that Take Energy from the Air

Batteries are one area of technology that seem to fall further behind each generation of power-hungry mobile devices. New batteries might use elements in the surrounding atmosphere to ionize its constituents. Additionally, new means of charging, like siphoning away kinetic energy or acting as vampires tapping into the wasted RF flying around, will one day lead to batteries that never run out of energy.

4. Waste Heat from Computers Will Power Other Appliances

In many data centers, up to fifty percent of the energy consumed by the building is used just to cool down the machines that are doing the work.  New liquid-cooling techniques, including sending the liquid through the CPU, might be able to transfer that wasted energy to another location where it can be put to work.

5. Personalized Commutes

Perhaps most realistic to pop up in the next five years, personalized commutes combine data from GPS, traffic, weather and other sources to create a completely personalized journey. 



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