KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
14th May 2018


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Coming up to Christmas we editors receive lots of information about predicted trends for the coming year and a press release that arrived yesterday was headed up:  'IBM reveals five innovations that will change our lives within five years'. The first paragraph read: 'Breakthroughs will mark the era of cognitive systems when computers will, in their own way, see, smell, touch, taste and hear'... At first I thought the idea was ridiculous but then I recalled how far computers have come in the past five years, so perhaps it wasn't as daft as it sounded.

Imagine using your smartphone to shop for your next kitchen, bathroom or bedroom and being able to feel the texture of the cabinetry, handles, or worktop, or the depth of the grooves in a drainer - all from the surface of the screen? In five years, industries such as retail will be transformed by the ability to 'touch' a product through your mobile device, claims IBM, whose scientists are developing applications for the retail sector using haptic, infrared and pressure sensitive technologies to simulate touch, such as the texture of a product, as a shopper brushes his or her finger over the image of the item on a device screen.

Utilising the vibration capabilities of the phone, every object will have a unique set of vibration patterns that represents the touch experience.. The vibration pattern will differentiate, say, oak from granite, helping simulate the physical sensation of actually touching the material.

It doesn't end there... Computers will not only be able to look at and recognise the contents of images and visual data, they will turn the pixels into meaning, beginning to make sense out of a photograph similar to the way a human views and interprets it. In the future, 'brain-like' capabilities will let computers analyse features such as colour, texture patterns or edge information and extract insights from visual media.

It's quite a thought, isn't it?

FB.jpgThis is our final broadcast of 2012 (or our final broadcast if those that believe the world will end today turn out to be right!) We reckon we're still going to be around though and whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we wish you peace, good health, joy and goodwill to all men (and women) until our next broadcast on Friday, 11th January. Do have a very happy start to 2013 and keep an eye on our website for breaking news.

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Jan Hobbs


21st December 2012

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