Every year, IBM surveys its 3,000 researchers and asks them what they think will be the dominant new technologies in the next five years. These predictions are usually reasonable in scope and not wild, science fiction-based fantasies. One such prediction from 2010 points to the development of holographic mobile phone conversations. This technology would be an extension of the video calling that we already see with fring or FaceTime but would tke it one step further by projecting a 3D image of the caller in front of the mobile phone’s display. While this would be great for long-distance business meetings, it would be kinda creepy to see in a crowded mall.
Another interesting prediction is the development of air-breathing batteries. This battery technology would use an energy-dense material that needs air to re-charge. As long as you do not store your phone in a vacuum, these air-based batteries would always keep up their charge. The researchers at IBM also predict the development of kinetic-based battery technology that uses movement to generate energy in sufficient quantity to charge a low-power device like a Bluetooth headset.
Of all the different predictions, this battery technology is most important to the world of mobile technology. Smartphone owners can attest to the substandard battery technology available in the current crop of mobile phones. Most smartphones can barely last a day and need to be plugged in each night. This reliance on daily charging has limited the development of mobile technology. Mobile phone manufacturers would love to fill a device with an array of always-on sensors, but current battery technology cannot support that energy demand.
It will be interesting to see if IBM is correct with their predictions about battery an holographic technologies. Past results show IBM is fairly accurate with their educated guesses. In 2009, they predicted mobile phones would be used as a wallet, ticket manager, concierge and a shopping assistant. With rapid rise smartphone app stores and the arrival of NFC technology, this dream is quickly being realized.