Presenting the technology of 2016

We’re gearing up for the Consumer Electronics Show here at Technotainment – including the barrage of press conferences, keynotes and quirky show floor finds that make the gadget business a fascinating one to cover. Zoltar

Rather than the typical “What to expect at the show” piece, we thought it might be more interesting to look a little farther into the future, courtesy of the futurists on staff over at IBM.

The tech giant recently unveiled its fifth annual “next five in five” list – looking at innovations that could change the way people work and play. And a few have direct ties to the entertainment industry.

Specifically, IBM predicts that 3D interfaces – like those in the movies – will let people interact with 3D holograms of their friends in real time. Scientists are already working on ways to improve video chat to incorporate holographic imagery. It’s a technology the video game industry could use in any number of ways – but something that could also assist architects and doctors.

Also, the company forecasts that batteries will breath air to power devices. That could mean limitless charges for laptops, cell phones and entertainment devices.

“In the next five years, scientific advances in transistors and battery technology will allow your devices to last about 10 times longer than they do today,” says the company. “Instead of the heavy lithium-ion batteries used today, scientists are working on batteries that use the air we breath to react with energy-dense metal, eliminating a key inhibitor to longer lasting batteries. If successful, the result will be a lightweight, powerful and rechargeable battery capable of powering everything from electric cars to consumer devices.”

Other predictions, which have less of an entertainment focus, include:

* The rise of citizen scientists – Through sensors in phones, cars, wallets and more, scientists may be able to draw a real-time picture of your environment, helping to fight global warming and save endangered species.

* A personalized commute – Using predictive analysis and real-time information, systems will be able to route you around traffic snarls, let you know if your train is on time or whether you’ll be able to find a parking space.

* Computers energize cities – Imagine if that heat your computer spits out could be harnessed to heat your water. IBM says scientists are working on technology that would not only save you money, but help the environment.