IBM just released its traditional 5 in 5 predictions - five innovations the company believes will be available within five years.
Some of the predictions may be obvious, while others may raise questions if we really need such capabilities. All predictions, however, are solidly placed in mainstream and consumer electronics computing and relate to a machine ability to adopt superhuman-like senses.
For 2013 to 2018, the predictions are:
Touch: You will be able to touch through your phone
Sight: A pixel will be worth a thousands words
Hearing: Computers will hear what matters
Taste: Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter
Smell: Computers will have a sense of smell
With the exception of "touching through the screen of a phone" and "interpreting pixels", we have heard the remaining predictions in the past in varying forms. The interest in computers adopting more senses beyond touch has been with us for awhile, so it should not be surprising to hear about them again and again.
Touch, of course, has still plenty of innovation room left and IBM's idea is that haptic feedback will beable to simulate certain fabrics not too far down the road. When online shopping, for example, you will be able to feel the fabric of a t-shirt.
Personally, I would already be happy if some of the prior predictions would come true. For example, kinetic device charging, which would allow a phone to generate power from your body movements, or holographic phone calls. Of course, IBM's tech predictions are frequently not so much about the details, but also reflect our changing interest in what tech should do.