IBM’s amazing 5 year predictions: Mind Reading and power your home with your own energy

IBM’s future predictions via its 5 in 5 (You can read the complete list here – Five innovations which will alter the tech landscape in 5 years) series this year are mind boggling.   Here they are:

  1. Create energy from unexpected sources, including your body to power your home
  2. You will never need a password again
  3. Mind Reading is no longer Science Fiction
  4. Mobile devices will close the Digital Divide
  5. Big Data & sensemaking engines will become friends

Let us look at these predictions in more detail for each of the section


Energy creation will use more and more innovative sources!

Parasitic power collection techniques will help science devise new and new ways to collect and use energy from non-polluting and natural sources.  For example:

Walking involves a variety of dynamic forces. The strike of your heel on the ground and the bend of your sole release a lot of dissipated energy.  These simple movements can become a power source, enough to charge your cell phone, with the help of small device with an antenna inserted into the sole of your shoe.

Even today, the commercial uses of this kind of energy creation is being done at a large scale.  The Stockholm Railway Station uses the body heat of the 250,000 daily commuters for warming up the office block next door.  The result is amazing:

Stockholm’s Central Station is the largest and busiest train station in Sweden. The combined energy from the commuters and shops in the station generate an enormous amount of heat that is usually ventilated away. But thanks to some innovative thinking this problem is now a solution.The station has teamed up with an office building across the street, to transfer the energy through heat exchangers and into the building’s waterborne central heating system. This cheap, renewable energy source is estimated to reduce the heating costs of the building by up to 25% compared to using natural gas, many businesses are behind when it comes to efficiently using energy for their properties, instead many businesses would opt for Business Gas packages for cheaper monthly bills, however the future promises more efficient methods.


Technologies which make use of multifactor biometrics using our unique faces, voices, and retinas, could obviate the use of IDs and passwords.  You would walk up to the ATMs and take cash out.

Mind Reading

Although very little may be known of the brain, yet the scientists have done tremendous research to come up with great insights from how brain responds to external triggers.  So, what can be done?

“… use these electrical synapses to also do everyday activities such as placing a phone call, turning on the lights or even in the healthcare space for rehabilitation.”

This is great, but scientists are going to amazing areas of research, which could open up a lot of things unheard of until now.  They are being able to model visual thoughts not just when we are awake but also when dreaming!

This isn’t the only example of progress in this area.  Scientists at UC Berkeley have designed and developed a special MRI scan that can model our visual thoughts both while we are awake, but even more intriguingly, while we are dreaming.

Digital Divide

As the action moves to the Mobile side, the difference in the capabilities with the poor and rich will decrease tremendously.

Paper Currency will become obsolete, replaced by mobile to mobile transactions: “As security issues and banks’ roles are worked out, we will be able to buy and sell goods, lend money to a friend, and more.”
Improve Personal Life: “…when you order your lunch from your cell phone, you might get a message recommending a healthier selection, based on the restaurant and your personal profile”
Peer-to-Peer Access: “…could turn our mobile devices into a point in the network. If you have bandwidth that you’re not using, someone else who needs additional bandwidth communicates with you to get that additional access.”
Massive Introduction of Machine to Machine based services: For example, “…your mobile will have access to your electronic healthcare records while also monitoring your vitals, such as blood pressure, in real time”

How will it bridge the gap?

Many countries in Africa – like Kenya, and some developed economies like South Korea, are already using the mobile currency.  African countries could become the “haves”.  Countries not using these services and methods could be left behind in penetration of services.

Junk Mail

IBM is already working on certain “sense-making” technologies that combine data linkages and relationships to advise you with predictions based on your personal information that will seem ingenious to you.  With amazing sense-making technologies, large amounts of unsolicited but correctly timed information could be a great help!

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