postheadericon ECS: Gadgets to Be (Smarter)


Do you ever think about what's coming next, especially after you plunk down tens of thousands of rupees for a gadget? Well this short review is more about what comes long after that, several generations into the future of your favorite device...where they all have become "smart." 

First, let's take your phone that you hold in the palm of your hand these days. Now imagine it's not, with many smart phone functions instead built right into your specs or cool shades. These devices are already in development and monikered "smart glasses," as demonstrated by the Pixeloptics Company this year at CES. Smart glasses not only autofocus your bad eyesight, but in the future our specs will replace all of our device displays, with the first no doubt being the display on your phone. How about that for hand's free driving! 

Now image a piece of ordinary paper next to your new Galaxy tablet, but it's not really a version of papyrus at all, but instead, smart paper! That's right, researchers are now in the process of making a tablet so thin and flexible, it's nothing more than a sheet of paper  - that instead of writing on, you tap and swipe and scroll. For many of you, electronic ink may already be in your hands, in the form of a Kindle or Nook, but many companies are now investing in the R&D of a Kindle or Nook that actually feels like a thin sheet of film or paper. Just think, those coffee cup rings will just wipe right off!

With all these smart gadgets to be, what about smartness itself? Researchers like Joseph Turian from Université de Montréal, believe that very soon we will have "deep learning" for all of our devices, from automobiles to xylophones. Deep learning is nothing more than extreme advances in artificial intelligence, such that "machines that learn" are being built in labs world over. These new algorithms are capable of learning from input, and adapting it's output based on what the program has learned. This will enable cars to avoid crashes and your credit card to become your personal shopping assistant. If you have Apple's Siri, the personal assistant on your iPhone 4s, then you already have witnessed the very beginning of devices that adaptively learn. Skynet may be closer then we think...

Well, when thinking about all the gadgets to be, all you have to remember is one word, "smart." 

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Jiggy Gaton
lives in Kathmandu and is an aging technologist - has been since the days of Woodstock - so in the words of Roland The Gunslinger "he is from a world now gone by." However, Jigs is extremely up-to-date on all things tech and is also available for hire.
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