Within the next five years, computers will gain the five senses and be able to experience the world as humans do, IBM has predicted.
By 2018, vibrators within smartphones will be precise enough that they could be designed to mimic the vibrations experienced when your fingers touch a particular surface. Even though you'll just be touching glass, it will feel like you're touching whatever object is displayed on the screen, it said.
"We're not talking about fuzzy screens. You're not going to have to dry clean your Samsung," CNN quoted Bernie Meyerson, IBM's (IBM, Fortune 500) vice president of innovation, as saying.
In five years, the firm says, computers will be able to interpret images better than we can, analyzing colors, texture patterns and gaining insights from other visual media.
They will even surpass doctors' abilities to read medical imagery, including MRIs, CT scans, X-Rays and ultrasounds, IBM predicted.
The future computers will also be able to detect elements of sounds that humans can hear but aren't able to understand.
By interpreting different sound pressures, vibrations and waves, computers will be able to predict when trees are about to fall, when landslides are imminent, or when cars are about to collide before humans can.
A future computer could help you make the perfect recipe.
By breaking down foods to the molecular level, computers will be able to use complex algorithms to determine what flavor combinations are the most appealing. They could then develop recipes that provide the ideal flavor and texture of food.
The technology could be used to help people eat better, IBM said. By making healthy foods taste better, people might crave vegetable dishes instead of sugary and fatty junk foods.
IBM researchers are developing technology to analyze odors in people's breath that identify ailments, including liver and kidney disorders, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.
By determining which odors and molecules in a person's breath are associated with each disease, computers of the future will be able to make an instant analysis for problems that today could be misdiagnosed or go undetected by a doctor.
Computers will also be able to detect harmful bacteria that cause Staph infections in hospitals just by smelling the surroundings.