In what has become an annual rite, IBM predicts the progress of 5 technologies over the next 5 years. This year the 5 they have chosen are the familiar 5 senses: touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. IBM’s Chief Innovation Officer, Bernard Meyerson has this to say:
A host of technologies are coming that will help us overcome our limitations and will transform the way we interact with machines and with each other. One of the most intriguing aspects of this shift is our ability to give machines some of the capabilities of the right side of the human brain. New technologies make it possible for machines to mimic and augment the senses. Today, we see the beginnings of sensing machines in self-parking cars and biometric security–and the future is wide open.
The implications for robotics should be obvious. If a computer without external actuators can benefit from such rich sensory information, how much more might a machine that both computes and interacts physically with its environment? Roboticists are sure to be among the earliest adopters of any such developments, and in many cases the researchers responsible for them.