Technologies of the future


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After my thread Technologies that should have been invented by now, I would like to share my ideas about what technology will look like in a few years or a few decades' time.

Holographic screen for smartphones

Smartphones have evolved tremendously over the last few years. The trend has been for thinner, lighter devices, but with constantly larger screens for easier typing and reading, and better visualisation of content. This has eventually led to the development of tablets, with even larger display for reading e-books, browsing the Internet or watching videos. TV screens are adopting menus that are increasingly similar to computers, and traditional computers are now copying tablet and smartphone display (see Windows 8). In the future, all these devices could be combined into one thanks to holographic screens with completely customizable sizes.

A small pocket-size device like a smartphone would be able to project its screen into the air. Three years ago, I reported a new invention that allowed to use a person's skin as a screen or touchpad. This may be the first step before actual holographic screens. It would allow to project the screen onto a physical surface, such as a table, a sheet of paper, a wall, or one's skin. That alone is revolutionary as a very compact phone could project videos onto a wall and replace the TV or computer screen altogether. Making the whole thing holographic would be even better as a wall or white surface is not necessary any more and people could watch videos on a screen of their desired size in any room, in one's garden, while going camping, or even in the middle of desert.

My image of the perfect holographic screen is a touchscreen (obviously) that can be extended easily with one's fingers, just like one changes the size of a computer window with a mouse. One would just need to pull the corner of the screen with a finger to increase or decrease its size in the air.

Intelligent cars

Technologies are quickly revolutionising the way we use cars: Bluetooth smartphone connection, voice commands, car navigation... What I would like to see is a screen with information about other cars in the street and an intelligent system that would coordinate traffic by giving tips or instructions to each driver based on other drivers' destination, speed, driving skills, and the like.

The car's system would memorise the driver's attitude: average speed in urban areas, on motorways and in curves, reaction time to start at green light, tendency to overtake other cars, and so on. All cars in a same area would then be connected through a single network (e.g. through GPRS) and get instant data about other cars around them to help them anticipate other drivers' behaviour. Ideally, a built-in intelligent voice navigation would also advise directly each driver on how to behave based on the data from other cars.

With the new intelligent car network implemented, each driver would tell their car their destination and whether they are in a hurry or not. Perhaps, through the help of an in-built camera or skin sensors on the steering wheel, the car's computer could even detect how excited, tensed, irritated, or tired the driver is. The car computer would then adapt recommendations accordingly, waking up a driver falling asleep, or trying to calm down an overexcited driver. It would also warn other drivers. They would get a voice warning like: watch out the blue BMW behind you, the driver seems to be on the nerves.

But such a system could also help drivers speed up the traffic or avoiding irritating other drivers uselessly. Imagine this annoying situation: you are in a hurry, get into your car, try to drive out of your parking area into the street just as another car is coming in the street. Even though you are halfway into the street, the other car doesn't slow down to let you through and even honks at you to warn you that you shouldn't dare pass as they will not slow down for you. Then, as you get into the street, the other car drive at half the speed limit in front of you and there is no way to overtake. Why wouldn't they let you through in the first place if they are going to drive slowly ? That's the kind of situation that happens to me at least once a month. Wouldn't it be nice to have a system that would automatically tell that slow driver that (s)he should let you through as you will be driving considerably faster and (s)he would only be slowing you down ?

More ideas later. Feel free to post your own too. Hopefully some people at high-tech companies will read this and get some inspiration from it.

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