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IBM claim computers will see, touch and hear in 2018

IBM have published their annual list of innovations and they claim that computers will gain human like abilities to receive input through senses such as smell, touch and taste. IBM are calling the development the ‘era of cognitive systems’ and claim that it will herald a completely new way for people and computers to interact.

The company said in a statement “This new generation of machines will learn, adapt, sense and begin to experience the world as it really is. This year’s predictions focus on one element of the new era, the ability of computers to mimic the human senses–in their own way, to see, smell, touch, taste, and hear.”

IBM are saying that this breakthrough could have commercial applications.

IBM researchers are working with technologies that can allow smartphone displays to ‘mimic the feel of fabrics or other materials’ They said “The vibration pattern will differentiate silk from linen or cotton, helping simulate the physical sensation of actually touching the material.”

IBM Supercomputer Watson

The company have said that computers will be able to recognise and interpret images without them having to be tagged. These computers will be able to recognise texture patterns and colours.

IBM say that smart sensors could allow X ray and CT scanners to automatically analyse scans and work out healthy and diseased tissues.

Informationweek add “Taste is another sense that IBM believes computers will gain in the next half-decade. While Star Trek’s food replicator may be a long way off, the company is working on systems that can break foods down into their constituent components to ascertain what makes some combinations appealing and others less so. This could even lead to the development of new, healthy flavorings.

Finally, IBM also sees the arrival of computers that can smell. Sensors could be embedded within a smartphone to measure the qualities of a user’s breath, and predict if he or she is coming down with a cold or some other condition.”

Kitguru says: Exciting times ahead, how long before machines take over the world in Skynet fashion?

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