Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

Summary: Speaking at eComm 2011, a futurist explains how the mobile phone as we know it will disappear, evolving into a device linking our senses directly with senses of other people or with machines by the turn of the decade.

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TOPICS: Cloud, Hardware, PCs
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"A phone today is a a value-added service, a 'teleputer,' a creature born with genes coming from a cell phone and a personal computer," according to independent researcher Szymon Slupik.

Speaking yesterday at the invitation-only Emerging Communications Conference & Awards (eComm), the Krakow-based futurist explained that by 2020, a mobile phone as we know it will disappear, evolving into a device linking our senses directly with senses of other people or with machines. What device will displace the role of today's smartphone: Internet glasses.

Internet eyeglasses concept presented by Szymon Slupik at eComm 2011

"Voice was always organized in sessions with a beginning and an end. Today we have threads. So when a thread is started it never ends and we have many continuing in parallel. Think of your email, RSS feeds, Twitter, etc. So this is how our brain works. The phone of tomorrow will be telecoupling us and machines," Slupik said. This is analogous to acoustic coupling, information will be transmitted directly to our brains via wireless gateways.

So how do we get there and when? The key, said Slupik, is to bypass tiny screens and keyboards altogether and look to emerging technologies that can free up the bandwidth bottlenecks caused by aging paradigms. Think "screenless instead of better screens. Touchless instead of better touch."  The two key technologies:

  1. Laser based displays - MEMS (microelectromechanical systems)-based laser projectors can display images directly on our retinas while not blocking our sight, enabling mixed reality vision. The beauty is that it is so small that it can already be integrated into eyeglasses.
  2. Brain waves sensing - We need to control the functions by the mind to become really hands free.  Aided by eye tracking, direct brain links will provide touchless input. Sound far fetched? It's not. Major universities continually report progress with brain implants used in lab rats and humans, while commercial applications for noninvasive coupling with human brain signals are also emerging.  A Japanese company recently announced cat ears that can be worn on the human head and manipulated with nothing but the mind.

Slupik believes that we are on the verge of a hardware revolution that will allow for computer senses and the brain to be networked by the end of this decade. The result will be an unleashing of unimaginable usage scenarios. Computers in the cloud will be fully aware of our context, receiving a continuous stream of what we hear and what we look at and, in turn, sending us back contextually-aware information, such as hints, translations, and guidance.

After his talk, Slupik gave me another example. Imagine remotely flying a drone equipped with a camera somewhere in Australia and being able to see the image projected on your eyeglasses. In effect, you'll will be able to hear with somebody else's ears and see with somebody else's eyes.

eComm 2011 is underway at the San Francisco Airport Marriott and continues through tomorrow. You can follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #eComm.

Topics: Cloud, Hardware, PCs

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41 comments
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  • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

    The Patriot Act will love this tech
    PriMinister
    • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

      @PriMinister

      Damn I should have patented this when I mentioned it some months ago ;-)
      tonymcs@...
  • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

    In Star Trek they either use tablets or voice-activated interface. No stinking glasses.
    Brain interface? We need to have cars which drive themselves first. Or they'll have to ban driving while using your brain :)
    Scrabbler
    • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

      @Scrabbler
      Don't know where u live. But in my city that would?'t be much of a problem since everybody seems to be driving without using their brains...
      Magedoomkkk
      • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

        @Magedoomkkk - Too funny! You must live around here...
        gbboyd@...
    • In North Korea they use invisible, hands free, voice activated cell phones

      @Scrabbler
      (invented by Kim Jong-il himself) to relay messages from Dear Leader to his Soccer coach, so tablets or voice-activated interfaces are so old news.
      Will Pharaoh
    • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

      @Scrabbler The borg use this technology. An the Binars.
      Knowles2
    • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

      @Scrabbler Self-driving cars (autocars) will open the door for flying cars.
      myangeldust
  • I like the Star Trek vision

    Sorry, but I prefer the Star Trek ideal: Voice & tablets.
    CobraA1
    • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

      @CobraA1 Voice recognition and holographic displays are the future of personal and mobile computing. The future mobile phone will be a clip-on that will take your commands and respond in plain English. Any visual output will be displayed in mid-air, translucently before us. Nothing to burn our retinas or scramble our brains.
      myangeldust
  • Man, these "futurists" are a hoot!

    Love that brain-wave thing. And gotta have me some of them cat ears!
    Userama
    • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

      @Userama Yeah, seriously. We can't build an airplane that won't crash if our iPod is turned-on during takeoff, but we want them to link technology directly to our brains? This guy must live inside a tiny little bubble of rainbows.
      BillDem
      • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

        @BillDem IF this sort of tech was available, the TSA will happily make us strip down to the buff, submit to an anesthetic and fly naked, unconscious and stacked like cord wood in cargo planes.
        MikeyrInFL
  • Let me get this straight..

    By around 2020 Mr. Slupik is hoping the masses walk around everywhere with these Internet glasses? Tell that to my boss.
    smulji
  • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

    Time to hack a brain.
    "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." by Yuri
    cym104
  • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

    Lol, let's take an imaginary journey back in time to Newcastle UK in 1829....

    Slupick: "George, anything new happening?"

    George Stephenson: "I've just built a steam locomotive that can carry passengers along a rail road at up to 20mph!"

    Slupik: "Great! I guess the space shuttle will be ready 1st Qtr 1830?"

    The End

    Get real Slupik! That's about how close we are.
    AndyPagin
  • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

    Brain-interfacing is coming "real soon now!" for the last 20 years already. Our brain is optimized to steer our limbs and senses, not for steering third-party addons.

    And, voice-activation? It exists already for many years, but would you really want that in an office? In busy traffic? Even at home?

    Touch: yes, it is intuitive to the point my toddler uses it. Quicker than daddy.
    merijnvogel
    • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

      @merijnvogel

      I'm not an evangelist for this stuff and as several others have suggested it may take a long time yet for it to become widely and safely used

      But I respectfully suggest you reconsider a little the adaptability of the brain. Yes it's optimised for what it traditionally does. But consider how well we (or some of us at least) cope with all manner of tools, sports implements, vehicles and so on.

      When I drive my car I have to think to do unusual manoevres or use switches I don't often use. But as regards the main controls, e.g. steering, this is almost automatic. The steering wheel and car have become, in a way, extensions of my arms.

      This is limited, of course, but think about the extent to which the average driver copes with having a car on the end of his arms. Or a reasonable tennis player a racket.
      Ross44
  • RE: Why the future of mobile is screenless, touchless

    great technology hope it will come soon,added this in my blog check out
    http://eformationonline.weebly.com/blog.html
    Sameer Malik
  • I call it BS

    too many similar technologies failed to make progress in the last 30 years. This is no different.
    Maybe 50-100 years from now, not in 10 years.
    Linux Geek