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Ask The #InternetOfEverything Futurist: “How Will the Future of Technology Integrate into our Five Senses?”

In my role as Cisco’s Chief Futurist, I get many questions about what the future holds and how new technology and emerging solutions will change our lives. Be sure to check out previous Ask the #InternetOfEverything Futurist blogs and videos about the advances of battery technology, the future of smartphones and new retail models.

Greek philosopher Aristotle first classified the five senses of human perception: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing in De Anima, a landmark piece of work that explores how we interpret reality.

Today, Aristotle’s belief about senses still holds true: Our senses help us obtain a better understanding of the world around us. And as the Internet of Everything (IoE) connects more people, process, data and things, emerging technology and the network to support such technology is playing an increased role in our sensory development and capabilities.

New solutions that rely on haptic touch technology, sensors and real-time data transmission protocols are no longer requiring us to touch or even see technology in order for us to interact with it. These innovations coupled with the power of the Internet of Everything are creating enhanced experiences for us – and a new way of viewing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching our world.

In today’s Ask the #InternetOfEverything Futurist post, I’ll answer a question from Cisco Champion Karen Woodard’s student, Kurt, who addresses this type of IoE-enabled sensory technology evolution. Kurt asks:

Question: “How will the future of technology integrate into our five senses?”

Answer: Excellent question, Kurt. It’s clear that we interact with our world through our senses. In fact, everything we know about our world is a result of what our senses tell us and today we primarily, although not exclusively, interact with technology through a touchscreen, keyboard or a mouse. In other words, we have to adapt to technology.  But as technology evolves it will adapt to us much, much more.

For example, the rise in physical gestures and voice-controlled technologies are advancing to become more contextual. Consulting firm NPD DisplaySearch, is predicting a quick rise for such technologies in the coming years. The firm forecasts that around 330 million gesture-enabled devices will ship in 2015. It won’t be very long before even a thought will help you control your devices through brain machine interfaces.

Another example is the development in sight. Soon, replacement eyes will give us new vision capabilities. Recently, Second Sight developed The Argus II retinal implant, a cochlear implant for the blind. It looks like computing goggles such as Google Glass, but it sends the images the eyeglass-mounted visual processing unit detects to a tiny electrode array that’s been implanted in the user’s retina.

In addition, advancements in haptic technology, which creates a virtual sense of touch are merging digital and physical interactions to allow for more substantial capabilities than just traditional audio and video communication. For example, a device on our ears might provide real-time language translation and we’ll be able to touch things not physically present, through remote haptics. In fact, remote haptics have been described as doing for the sense of touch as what computer graphics does for vision. Students at the University of Bristol in England are embracing this technology and working on a project called UltraHaptics, which gives a sense of mid-air feeling through ultrasound vibrations, which can tremendously impact how we interact with devices and the information we receive from them.

These developments are just a sampling of what’s in store in the coming years. Apart from the obvious coolness factor of haptic technology and replacement eyes, these innovations and many others offer direct implications for various industries such as manufacturing, telemedicine and more. An infrastructure to support this technology is essential, it makes these deeper and more immersive experiences with technology possible.

What will you do with increased sensory development in an Internet of Everything world? Let me know in the comment section below.

Do you have a question for @DaveTheFuturist? Join the conversation using #InternetOfEverything and #AskTheFuturist.

If you missed my previous Ask the #IoE Futurist blog series posts, check them out:

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3 Comments.


  1. Thank you Mr. Evans. useful article

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  2. What about smells and taste?

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  3. Could we able to delete the redundant data unstructured nd structure some way a nice big data platform. As ioe will increase do we ne insight of redudancy…

       0 likes