IBM Says Computers Will Have All Five Senses In Five Years

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

IBM predicts the future
Cognitive Computing
This year IBM has presented 5 in 5 in five sensory categories, through innovations that will touch our lives and see us into the future.
A ccording to this year's IBM 5 in 5, in the upcoming era of cognitive computing, systems will learn instead of passively relying on programming. As a result, emerging technologies will continue to push the boundaries of human limitations to enhance and augment our senses with machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), advanced speech recognition and more. —

This is the seventh year that IBM has produced the 5 in 5 series.  Through these releases, the company points out where their researchers are focused, and what the possible outcomes of their innovations and inventions might be.

IBM's goals with cognitive computing are to get a computer to behave, think and interact the way humans do.
This year, the series explores how, in the next five years, technology will increasingly use and provide sensory feedback much as we do.  They break down the discussion into the five senses: touch, hearing,  smell, sight and taste.


According to IBM researcher, Robyn Schwartz in 5 years, you will be able to touch through your phone. IBM is working on bringing a sense of touch to mobile devices, and bringing together virtual and real world experiences for a number of industries including retail. Tactus Technology already has demonstrated possible uses of advanced haptic touch displays for mobile devices.  Shoppers will be able to "feel" the texture and weave of a fabric or product by brushing their finger over the item's image on a device's screen.

IBM 5 in 5 - Touch



Dimitri Kanevsky says computers will hear what matters. Hearing systems of the future will be trained by 'listening' to sounds and will use this input to start detecting patterns and building models to decompose sounds. Machines will be used to predict when a tree might fall or to translate "baby talk" so parents understand if a baby's fussing indicates hunger, tiredness or pain.

IBM 5 in 5 - Hearing


Hendrik Hamann tells how computers will have a sense of smell. We will see vast advances where sensors will be equipped to smell potential diseases that feed back into a cognitive system to tell us if they suspect a possible health issue. Your phone will detect if you're coming down with a cold or illness before you do.

IBM 5 in 5 - Smell


Researcher John Smith suggests that in 5 years, computers will not only be able to look at images, but understand them. Computers will be trained to turn pictures and videos into features, identifying things like color distribution, texture patterns, edge information and motion information. A pixel will be worth a thousand words.

IBM 5 in 5 - Sight


In 5 years, a computer system will know what you like to eat better than you do says Lav Varshney. A machine that experiences flavor will determine the precise chemical structure of food and why people like it. Not only will it get you to eat healthier, but it will also surprise us with unusual pairings of foods that are designed to maximize our experience of taste and flavor. Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter.

IBM 5 in 5 - Taste


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