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A ZigBee experiment to monitor the health of a vineyard, called Pickberry, combines data from sensors to measure soil moisture (left) and temperature, leaf moisture (center), air temperature and rainfall (right). The leaf moisture sensor mimics drainage patterns by letting water flow through a series of small channels on its face.
RFID and customer service
Accenture is also researching how emerging technologies change the ways customers deal with banks. "One use of the technology is to put passive RFID tags into loyalty cards," said Emmanuel Viale, senior manager at Accenture Labs. "One very intrusive use is to track people to know when they come into a branch, know what they're doing and push (advertisements) to them on screen." Passive tags could also be embedded in brochures that would send out a message when picked up.
Digital pen and paper
This pen and paper have electronics to digitize information while the pen is used. The paper is covered in small dots so that software can differentiate particular fields.
"The pen is scanned automatically when it's put in the holder," Viale said. "The technology relies on handwriting recognition that isn't 100 percent accurate--maybe 95 percent--so a person still needs to check if the data is correct."