New sensors and engines will make smartphones and smartwatches of the future capable of feats that are hardly imaginable from today’s perspective.
This is the assumption made by Raimund Hahn, CEO of Rhino Inter Group, a wholesale group for electronic devices. He is also chairman of the Diplomatic Council, a global think tank that advises the United Nations. The German entrepreneur claims to use both his positions to gain direct access to developers of technology worldwide.
According to Hahn, a wide range of sensors, such as smoke alarms, are already able to be fitted to devices.
“Smartphones could save lives if they were capable of sounding a fire alarm when lying on the user’s bedside table at night,” says Hahn, naming just one benefit of the new sensors. “And if phones were able to measure air pressure, they would be much better at predicting local weather conditions.”
He describes the camera built into devices as an “unexploited sensor”.
“A camera can do much more than just take pictures,” he says, explaining that “cameras can observe the surroundings and warn the user of imminent danger, recognise faces, track eye movements and much, much more. Over the next few years, cameras will be able to be used in numerous new ways.”
Hahn also predicts the development of new sensors and image engines. “Radars and holograms may sound outlandish today, but in the future they will be fitted as standard in all upmarket smartphone models and will enter the smartwatch market as well.”
As an example, he cites Google’s Soli project, which uses a radar to track finger movements. “Radars are able to detect hand and finger movements so precisely that it is possible to use them to readily control a smartwatch without actually having to touch the watch whatsoever.”
According to information available to Hahn, this radio detection and ranging technology could be ready for commercial production in just a few years.
Hologram technology, which creates moving 3D scenes in the room, is at a similar advanced stage of development. One example of this innovation is Microsoft’s HoloLens project, which uses augmented reality to bring three-dimensional objects to life to enrich the user’s actual surroundings. The technology is already capable of using 3D scanning technology to “holoport” a conversation partner into the field of view of the person to whom they are talking.
“Although this technology may still sound like science fiction today, in the future it will feel completely natural to use your smartphone or smartwatch to holoport a three-dimensional scene or a conversation partner into your room from afar at the click of your fingers,” Hahn says.
“Teleportation may still be a long way off, but holoportation will noticeably catch on in the next few years,” he anticipates.