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Computers to touch, see, hear by 2018?

December 18, 2012 17:41 IST

ComputersComputers will gain the five senses such as touch, see, hear, taste and smell within the next five years, computer giant IBM claims.

By 2018, vibrators within computers will be precise enough that they could be designed to mimic the vibrations experienced when your fingers touch a particular surface.

IBM's researchers claim to be creating applications for the retail and healthcare sectors that use haptic, infrared or pressure-sensitive technologies to simulate touch, CNN Money reported.

"We're not talking about fuzzy screens. You're not going to have to dry clean your Samsung," said Bernie Meyerson, IBM's (IBM, Fortune 500) vice president of innovation.

Computers, in some ways, are already simulating touch -- in a crude form. When you're driving a car in a video game, the controller vibrates when the car starts to veer off the road.

It may not feel precisely like a steering wheel's vibrations when you hit gravel, but within five years, that technology is expected to become even more lifelike.
Researchers claim within the next five years, a computer will help you make the perfect


By breaking down foods to the molecular level, computers will be able to use complex algorithms to determine what flavour combinations are the most appealing.

They could then develop recipes that provide the ideal flavour and texture of food.

Computers will also be able to interpret images better than we can, analysing colours, textures and gaining insights from other visual media.

They will even surpass doctors' abilities to read medical imagery, including MRIs, CT scans, X-Rays and ultrasounds.

These smart computers will be able to detect elements of sounds that humans can hear but aren't able to understand, the report said.

IBM researchers are developing technology to analyse odours in people's breath that identify ailments, including liver and kidney disorders, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.

By determining which odours and molecules in a person's breath are associated with each disease, computers of the future will be able to make an instant analysis for problems that today could be misdiagnosed or go undetected by a doctor.

Computers will also be able to detect harmful bacteria that cause infections in hospitals just by smelling the surroundings.

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