With PCs disappearing from desks but technology showing up everywhere else, computing will only get more personal in the coming decades.
Ambient computing will extend from house walls to body cells. Verichip makes a pea-size radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip that can be injected under diabetes patients' skin to monitor glucose levels.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh are exploring how to spray sensors into patients' chests during heart surgery, so the sensors can relay information to the hospital computer. The process could be commercially viable within 10 years.
Body computers will progress from monitoring health to delivering medical care and ultimately to augmenting reality by piping the internet directly into the brain – provided people can overcome their squeamishness about brain implants.
“There's a very short leap from implanting a [cochlear] device to implanting one that lets you receive data directly from the internet,” Tucker says.
For three months in 2002, Kevin Warwick, a cybernetics professor at the University of Reading, lived with electrodes implanted in his arm. In one test, he wired them to an internet-connected PC and temporarily attached electrodes to his wife's arm as well.
Warwick described this experiment in a 2006 interview with ITWales.com. “When she moved her hand three times, I felt three pulses in my brain – my brain recognised that my wife was communicating with me. It was the world's first purely electronic communication from brain to brain, and therefore the basis for thought communication,” Warwick said.
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- A peak into 2020
- The incredible disappearing PC
- Body language
- Intelligent surroundings
- In-body computing
- Bumps in the road and Big Brother