Image Credit: Anthony Reeves

In five years, IBM thinks computers will touch, taste, smell, hear, and see. Sensing devices will aid online shoppers (touching products), parents (interpreting the sound of baby cries), chefs (cooking a perfectly tasty and healthy meal), and doctors (smelling disease). No word on a sixth sense, as yet the sole domain of humans.

This vision of sensory machines is courtesy of IBM’s seventh annual “5 in 5,” a list of technologies forecast to hit the mainstream in five years or less.

The list, first published in 2006, has included gems like the oft-touted (and downplayed) 2007 prediction “your cell phone will be your wallet, ticket broker, concierge, bank, shopping buddy, and more.” Of course, that prediction may have been aided (or perhaps inspired) by the first generation iPhone.

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