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IBM Displays Power Technology News

IBM Projects Holographic Phones, Air-Driven Batteries 109

Posted by timothy
from the get-it-projects-get-it-huh dept.
geek4 writes "In 2015, we will be using mobile phones that will project a 3D holographic image of callers, claims IBM in a list of predictions of future technologies culled from a survey of 3,000 IBM scientists. 3D displays are also the focus of work between Intel and Nokia in the development of a holographic interface. Cities heated by servers and advanced city traffic monitoring are also listed as being among the prevalent technologies of the next five years, according to a Bloomberg article."
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IBM Projects Holographic Phones, Air-Driven Batteries

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  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:02PM (#34672108)
    Instead of asking 3,000 people, what they should have done is ask the 3,000 people to pick the 10 smartest and THEY should have made some educated guesses.
    • by Simonetta (207550)

      These guys are crazy. They live in a ultra-high-tech fantasy bubble world. In the real world, where we all must live, there will be either little difference between 2015 and now (if we're lucky) or things will be a lot worse for some of us and a little worse for most of us.

      Technological advancement is peaking. The 20th century, the era-when-everything-happened is over. It was an aberation caused by huge amounts of cheap petroleum energy. With cheap oil depleting, the huge technology positive-feedback l

      • Technological advancement is peaking. The 20th century, the era-when-everything-happened is over. It was an aberation caused by huge amounts of cheap petroleum energy. With cheap oil depleting, the huge technology positive-feedback loop slows and stops.

        China had quite and advanced civilization 1500 years ago. I don't think that had anything to do with cheap petroleum energy. I don't think the technological (e.g. financial achievement) has anything to do what so ever with natural resources. It has everything to do with the character of the people. Witness Japan.

        I agree with you other points though. I think the problem is that there are too many parasites (lawyers, politicians, tv personalities). The poeple that produce e.g. farmers, scientists, enginee

      • by vertinox (846076) on Monday December 27, 2010 @01:43AM (#34674142)

        Technological advancement is peaking. The 20th century, the era-when-everything-happened is over. It was an aberation caused by huge amounts of cheap petroleum energy. With cheap oil depleting, the huge technology positive-feedback loop slows and stops.

        Really now? What about nations which are not dependent on oil such as France, Germany, and Japan. Yes peak oil would most likley be a pain for international shipping, but nations who had the forethought to actually build nuclear power plants and decent mass transit systems will shrug and keep on going.

        Plus there isn't any money. The banking system is fundamentally broken, nobody trusts that due-process rule-of-law applies to the financial sector anymore. And one-by-one all the industries in the USA are going down like the housing industry in a chain reaction. Government will frozen and powerless to do anything to stop it from happening.

        Government? Whose government? Are we talking about? You talk as if the past 200 years of advances were primarily made by people who lived on Washington, DC's payroll.

        The world will advance. It will adapt and it will progress... The statement you should be saying that the world will not progress should say "The United States will not progress, while China, Japan, and Europe keep going."

        Its not like China is short on cash.

      • by blincoln (592401)

        Technological advancement is peaking. The 20th century, the era-when-everything-happened is over.

        Maybe you are just getting old and jaded, while the rest of the world continues on. Did you ever think of that?

        I have a phone that is more powerful than the supercomputers that were built when I was growing up. I have a desktop PC that runs at a combined clockspeed of something like 20,000 times that of the Apple IIe my parents bought, and is probably more powerful than most of the computers in the US at that ti

      • ALL of those problems that you speak of are almost exclusive to the United States.

        China won't have energy problems : they have the guts (and the money to pay for) thousands of small nuclear generators, engineered to be fundamentally safe. China has our money, and their banking system isn't leveraged by credit default swaps.

        Europe has similar protection against these problems : they don't depend so utterly on cheap light crude oil to run their cars.

        Nuclear energy is cheap, if you use fundamentally good reac

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday December 27, 2010 @10:51AM (#34675962) Homepage Journal

        Technological advancement is peaking.

        Bullshit. You sound like the patent examiner in the 19th century who resigned his position on the grounds that everything worthwhile had already been invented.

        If you were paying attention you'd see that we are on the cusp of inventions that make the 20th century's inventions seem trivial. We have nanomaterials, metamaterials, new knowledge about subatomic particle physics (and thanks to the LHC, more will be coming quickly).

        If you weren't young you would see that we live in incredibly primitive times, and the present is ALWAYS primitive compared to the future.

        It was an aberation caused by huge amounts of cheap petroleum energy.

        Cheap petroleum doesn't fuel progress. Scientific advances fuel technological advances.

        Plus there isn't any money.

        There wasn't any money in the 1950s, either, yet the US Interstate highway system, transistors, lasers, and the birth of space exploration happened in that decade.

        one-by-one all the industries in the USA are going down like the housing industry in a chain reaction.

        The US isn't the world.

        The 21st century is the era of entropy

        Every century is one of entropy. Time is simply a measure of entropy. Our evolution was a function of entropy. Progress is a function of entropy, and it's not likely to stop any time soon.

      • by Phoghat (1288088)
        I don't know about that "peaking" thing being now. It seems that IBM is either going to compete or collude with Apple's 3D display [in.com] which appears to be coming out pretty soon. Apple's not known for pie-in-the-sky, because they want to make money.
  • Everything Must GO!

    Get Bebe Neuwirth and Kim Cattral on the phone!

    • 3D phones? I'd pay money for something like V's headset from Ultraviolet. Or the disposable printed cellphone too, which can double as an autopilot for her car.
  • by liquidpele (663430) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:14PM (#34672156) Journal
    I'm still waiting for my flying car and meal as a pill In short, just because it's possible does not mean it should be done much less that it will be profitable or functional.
    • by MavEtJu (241979)

      I'm still waiting for my flying car and meal as a pill.

      You are waiting for meal as a pill? I feel bad for you.

      • by msauve (701917)
        "You are waiting for meal as a pill? I feel bad for you."

        If the alternative is Soylent Green, which do you choose?
      • by no1nose (993082)

        Obligatory Flying Cars [youtube.com]. (Is IBM still making a "different kind of software"?)

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Personally, I want the kind of meal in a pill they have in The Fifth Element. Put the pill in a big bowel, stick it in the thing that looks like a microvave, shut the door, two seconds later DING! and there's a turkey dinner. Sure would beat the hell out of cooking!

    • by JDHannan (786636)
      Screw meal as a pill.  I want the opposite.

      I want huge whole meals that have the caloric content of something the size of a pill.  I love eating, but if I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, I'd be 300lbs.  I wanna be able to eat and eat and not gain weight, and so does most of America.
    • by arisvega (1414195)
      I want to ascend beyond eating
    • I am waiting for intersection that do not have traffic lights or signs because every car will know where every other car is that is within a hundred yards of it and will adjust its speed to avoid a collision at the intersection. I waiting for cell phone that once placed in a base will connect all the other cordless phones one has in their home. I can remember when most homes had only one phone and it cost extra to get another one in the house. It seems we have gone back to that era except when the cell
      • Got $2000? Then you can buy yourself a terrabyte of non-volatile, flash drives and the high speed controller chips to make them work.
        Not pocket change, but I bet you can afford it if you sacrificed elsewhere.

        The car thing is physically doable, but thanks to another parasite on society (lawyers/the U.S. legal system) it's unfeasible. (because even if fully automated cars were 10 times safer, plaintiff lawyers would sue the pants off the company that made the cars every time someone DID die)

        The phone thing.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        The phone thing already exists. Uses household phone wiring and standard wireless pots phones. No one wants them though. Everyone has their own cellphone these days.

        My phone runs vnc just fine.

    • by Per Wigren (5315)
      "Meal as a pill" almost exists, in the form of nutrition bars. Not the supplemental bars that athletes use but the complete "everything you need except water and most calories" bars that you can quite safely eat exclusively for several weeks in a row. Most commonly used for VLCD diets [wikipedia.org] when you eat only 600-800 kcal/day for 1-2 months. I've tried it and you are actually (very) hungry only the first 3 days or so. Then your stomach gets used to the lack of volume and since you get about all the nutrients you n
  • Flying cars and cities on the moon within 50 years...

  • They should survey their patent attorneys. Nothing goes out without their stamp.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NameIsDavid (945872)
      At IBM, the patent attorneys aren't a part of the process for approving patents. Rather, depending on the division, there is a panel consisting of various representatives from the department. Some are engineers, usually one is an attorney. Inventors pitch their idea and the panel asks questions and decides to either ask the inventors to return with more details or additional information or may approve moving forward. Usually, the next step is to pass a search of prior art. Only then is the disclosure rated
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, video calling has been possible for years. But (other than webcam chat) no-one does it.

    This is because we don't actually WANT people to see us when we've just got out of bed, or we're doing something on the computer at the same time.

    Man these guys have no idea about how people act. That's the problem with getting nerds to guess the future.

    • by blincoln (592401)

      Seriously, video calling has been possible for years. But (other than webcam chat) no-one does it.

      What about Facetime (or whatever it's called) on Apple's devices? I was skeptical, myself - I don't even own an iPhone, and I almost referred to it as "the Dick Tracy watch application" until I realized the person I was talking to was probably too young to get the reference - but apparently the businesspeople I work with are in love with the idea. Maybe (like so much of the other stuff that Apple has done recen

    • Actually video conferencing fills a real need. People like being able to look at each other when they talk (we get a lot out of nonverbal communication).

      On current mobile networks you just can't do that though (that's why facetime is wifi only, I gather). Not to mention that it will still drain your battery pretty damn fast. You make it sound like it's really easy to do right now, while the conditions haven't even yet arrived.

      3D displays on phones seems fairly implausible. An extra camera will take space, a

  • THAT I can believe. You should have seen this year's HVAC bill.
  • ...that this article is baseless fantasy. Half of it's gibberish: what does "cities heated by servers," even mean? The other half ignores what's known to be possible, with the holographic projections popping out of phones within four years being the most obvious clanger. How's that supposed to work? Like in Star Wars, of course, which is to say only as a special effect in a movie.

    • sudo mod parent -1.

      Cities heated by servers would be a good start to get the future into today's world, and smart traffic grids should have been implemented some time last decade (2001-2010, now that we're heading out of it...)
    • by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:44PM (#34672360)

      ...that this article is baseless fantasy. Half of it's gibberish: what does "cities heated by servers," even mean? The other half ignores what's known to be possible, with the holographic projections popping out of phones within four years being the most obvious clanger. How's that supposed to work? Like in Star Wars, of course, which is to say only as a special effect in a movie.

      If you're going to be using electrical heating, you might as well get some useful work out of that energy instead of just setting it on fire.

      As for holographic projections, a heliodisplay isn't technically the same thing, but it looks like the ones from Star Wars, so I'll give them a pass. It isn't that difficult to project a holographic phone. [io2technology.com]

      • by Rhywden (1940872)
        Not to slighten the achievement of projecting an image into mid air (pretty impressive, that) but this is not "holographic" per se. A holographic image would contain the image information of several angles while the io2technology's version projects a flat image.

        Furthermore, holography does not mean "draw with light" - it means "draw the whole (image)" (holos = greek: "whole") since if you cut a holographic image in half, you will still have the whole picture on _both_ halves. They'll be smaller and fuzzie
      • by robi5 (1261542)

        If you're going to be using electrical heating, you might as well get some useful work out of that energy instead of just setting it on fire.

        Maybe it will be illegal in the future NOT to combine electrical heating with computer processing. Your electrical heater won't work without it receiving Folding@Home and other distributed computing tasks which in turn generate heat. In some countries kWh price is based on peak/off-peak hours and other policies; it would be illegal or extremely expensive to directly convert electrical power to the high entropy heating without harvesting computational power.

    • I'd be surprised to see it happen on a significant scale, because of the legal, cultural, and infrastructure hurdles in many areas; but "cities heated by servers" is actually a perfectly cogent idea.

      On many large institutional campuses(academic and corporate), and (if memory serves) a few closely built cities, there is a single "steam plant" that heats the whole place. A single large generator of heat, with that heat piped around the campus in underground steam lines.

      In principle, a city or institutio
      • I can see how it could work over here in Sweden (and Northern Europe in general I believe), we have extensive district heating networks in many cities. The question is how large of a server farm would be required to replace all the heat otherwise generated by burning biomass, etc.

        Steam is not used in any modern installations btw, water is the most common medium nowadays. Steam can be pretty dangerous, and is generally less efficient. New York is an example of a US city that has an extensive district heating

        • I imagine that A)IBM sees a future with more servers, ideally bearing their logo and B)you use the heat from the servers that you would need anyway, and then use whatever you were using before to make up the difference.

          Electrical heating for its own sake doesn't make a huge amount of sense(outside of the extreme convenience of just being able to plug a big resistor into the wall wherever you need the heat) and servers make fairly expensive electric heaters unless you happen to need them for some other pu
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Well, it makes some sort of sense. Why burn fuel just to make heat when you could use some of it to run electrons through some silicon and get some computation done?

      (Answer? A lot of technical difficulties making it tricky, expensive, or less efficient... e.g. the fact that to avoid transmission losses you'd probably need to put the power plant and the servers right near the city, but the cheap power is all coal and no one wants that right near the city, and the good dense cities are expensive places for

  • By 2020 (Score:4, Funny)

    by serutan (259622) <snoopdougNO@SPAMgeekazon.com> on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:30PM (#34672270) Homepage

    Most 3D projector cell phones will run on ethanol.

  • We already have advanced traffic monitoring, at least in my city. As soon as I even think of doing anything not pre-approved with my internet connection, the speed drops to almost zero. Or is this one of those newfangled car analogies?
    • Given what places like the City of London are already doing, I'm not sure that "advanced traffic monitoring" counts as a "projection"...
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      All joking aside, monitoring traffic is okay to a point, but can only get you so much; cars still need lanes. Personally, I don't need a fancy computer to tell me about my commute. I already know it will be miserably slow no matter which way I go.
  • by theodp (442580) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:45PM (#34672366)

    In 2007, Bloomberg notes, IBM was bullish on online immersive environments like Second Life [bloomberg.com]. Big Blue certainly put its patent efforts where its predictions were - 250+ published IBM patent applications [uspto.gov] mention 'avatar' or 'avatars'.

  • If even because privacy problems, holographic display of information (a la star wars, at least) probably won't happen. But not so technologically disruptive glasses where you display to the wearer information, would be able to be 3d, augmented reality or HUD like displays, shouldnt be so far.
  • Aren't cell phones annoying enough as it is without people projecting the person on the other end in my face?

    • by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @07:43PM (#34672606)
      Nope. They are not annoying at all. There are some PEOPLE that are annoying. There are also some PEOPLE that are annoyed by other PEOPLE, but the phones themselves? Not annoying in the slightest. It is unfortunate for you that you don't have anyone in your life that you would want to see in 3D or larger than what a phone screen can show. That isn't the case for all of use though, so holographic projecting would be a good thing for us. Of course the real boon would be having the phone display a computer screen.

      Phones today are PC. Not Wintel machines, but definitely Personal Computers. The two biggest missing pieces are lack of a real keyboard and full sized monitor. We live with the tiny screens and keyboards because we have to choose between full sized IO and compact carrying size. We already have keyboards that displayed by laser, so that part just needs some shrinking. There is a phone or two that have a built in LED projector, so we are right on the verge of having a tiny but usable PC. Holographic display would make the screen usable anywhere.

      Don't let your lack of loved ones sour you on the bright future of ultra tiny PCs.
      • by Zakabog (603757)

        While I do enjoy seeing my girlfriends face, I hate web cam chats. Most of the time I end up just typing on my keyboard because either there isn't enough bandwidth for the sound to sync or transmit properly (she's on a very heavily used campus network) or I'm somewhere where I don't want to shout at the computer in order for the crappy little microphone to pick up on my voice. Speakerphone is annoying enough when it's just you in a car, I can't imagine what it'll be like on a bus where everyone in a call is

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Because for many, the cell phone will be their desktop and laptop.
          • by Zakabog (603757)

            That sounds like a horrid concept. "Yeah sorry hun I'd call you but I clicked a link on facebook and now my phone's infected with some nasty spyware that injects 5 second ads for viagra in all of my calls."

          • by vlm (69642)

            Because for many, the cell phone will be their desktop and laptop.

            Why would anyone want to work on multiple 20 inch screens with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, when they could use a teeny tiny little cellphone instead? God knows whenever I'm in a CAD app or working on a text document (including source code), I always wish I had a smaller screen. Also whenever I have a nice keyboard, like an IBM model M, I always wish I could use my Atari400 style cellphone membrane keypad instead.

            This also explains the industry wide utter dominance of tiny commuter cars over those obe

            • by Belial6 (794905)
              You seem to A) missed what the conversation was about since you are talking about interacting with something tiny, and B) Become confused into thinking that most people have a need for multiple screens that outweighs the convenience of always having their computer with them, D) for some reason believe that a full sized keyboard and monitor could not be use when they are available.

              All in all you seem confused.
      • by mapkinase (958129)

        "compact carrying size" change that to "compact everything" and I would agree with you.

        People use phones in crammed spaces: elevators, public transport, airport waiting areas. Give people more space and you will be able to immediately fit there a normal classic PC or laptop.

  • It's pathetic: we have more and more functionality crammed into so-called "smartphones", but the sound quality (emission & reception) is still crap...

    Oops, sorry, I forgot. Phones are made for apps, not longer for conversations. Sorry, my bad.

    Sad.

  • Firstly, the infrastructure to measure traffic flow patterns is being created as we speak. Every smartphone with a GPS can act as a sensor.

    The political will is there, largely due to the desire to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

    Authorities should try to disincentive drivers to drive when peaks are predicted. It may take the form of toll charges being continually adjusted or it may take the form of free parking. But even without them, a mere warning from their smartphone will lead some drivers to reschedul

    • by Unipuma (532655)

      Actually, this system is already in place, in Europe. Tomtom has an agreement with a large european mobile phone company, and receives anonymized information about the speed and location of mobile phones of this provider. This enables them to indicate traffic jams even on minor roads.
      Their navigation system receives both the official TMC signals, as this data, and uses it to calculate the most efficient route to destination.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TomTom#HD_Traffic [wikipedia.org]

  • Are holograms visible outside? Because I'd really appreciate a cell phone that was usable in the sun.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Are holograms visible outside? Because I'd really appreciate a cell phone that was usable in the sun.

      When you're driving at night, they'll work fine, although I agree when driving during the day it could be annoying. Other than driving, why would I go out in the sun and get skin cancer?

  • Every advanced Tech will eventually be used as a cat toy. http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1828 [smbc-comics.com]

  • by Peeteriz (821290)

    If the current cheap phones had perfect support for 3d-holos of the caller for free already today, I still wouldn't really use it...

    • by vlm (69642)

      If the current cheap phones had perfect support for 3d-holos of the caller for free already today, I still wouldn't really use it...

      I'd use it just as much as the free videoconferencing software on my desktop...
      One time, oh isn't that cool technology, well that was interesting, goodbye. And never again.

  • Here. [slashdot.org] But at least you waited almost a month, rather than a couple days! Maybe Slashdot is getting better...

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