Feeling through your phone and a digital tongue: IBM predicts the five-year future

IBM has offered up its annual list of five innovations that will change our lives within five years. IBM calls the list the "IBM 5 in 5." The list covers innovations that IBM believes that the potential change the way people work, live, and interact over the next five years.

The five innovations IBM lists this year include touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. Specifically IBM believes that over the next five years you will be able to touch fabrics and other objects through your phone with the ability to feel things like fabric using vibration interaction and other tech. The innovations IBM is predicting for sight have to do with computers gaining the ability to understand what an image is and what it means without having to rely on tags or human interaction.

IBM also predicts that within the next five years computers will make a significant improvement in their ability to hear and understand sounds. IBM predicts a distributed system of sensors will detect elements of sound including sound pressure, vibrations, and sound waves at different frequencies and perform tasks such as warning of pending landslides and other services.

IBM is also predicting digital taste buds that are able to help people make healthier choices when it comes to eating. IBM says that its researchers are developing a computer that can experience flavor to be used by chefs to create better tasting recipes. The system breaks down ingredients at the molecular level and blends the chemistry of food compounds using psychology behind the flavors and smells that humans prefer.

IBM also predicts that computers will have a sense of smell. This prediction is that over the next five years small sensors embedded in the computer or cell phone will be able to detect if the user is contracting a cold or other illness. The sensors would be able to analyze the odors, biomarkers, and other molecules in someone's breath.