Smartphones have already permeated every aspect of our lives. They’ve revolutionised communication, gaming, travel and study. But the development of smartphone technology is only just getting started. Here are four amazing smartphone technologies that are just over the horizon:
Getting the Bends
Those hard, brittle phone screens that shatter into a million shards the first time you drop them may soon become a thing of the past. The introduction of Organic LED technology means that screens will become much softer; you’ll be able to bend them, fold them and even roll them up like a poster.
These flexible OLED displays will be a lot thinner and lighter, and almost impossible to break. You will be able to change the size of your display; you could have a phone sized screen for texting, which unfolds into a tablet sized screen for watching movies or skyping.
Stepping Inside the Matrix
Augmented reality or AR, a technology where simulated objects are overlaid on reality as if they were part of it, is on the cusp of becoming ubiquitous. AR reached smartphones last year with the release of Pokémon Go, a game where players hunt monsters that look like they’re running around in the real world. But the future of AR on the smartphone is going to be much bigger.
Apple’s ARKit, a tool which allows developers to create AR apps for the iPhone and other devices, can keep track of the location of virtual objects as you move around. And the release of Microsoft’s HoloLens, a pair of “mixed reality” glasses, promises to make AR even more immersive in the coming years. AR is going to completely change your lived experience over the next few decades.
A Truly Smart Smartphone
Digital assistants like Siri already allow you to ask your phone questions in a conversational manner and get a useful response, but these are little more than a glorified search engine. Future smartphones will feature serious artificial intelligence technologies.
Deep learning, a form of AI that imitates the neural circuits in your brain, will allow your smartphone to gather and analyse huge amounts of data from the world around it. Your phone will begin to understand you better than you understand yourself. It may even be able to predict that you have an undiagnosed medical condition just by watching the way you move around.
Getting Inside Your Head
Smartphones will soon be able to mimic your brain, but what if they could actually become part of your brain? Neural engineers are already using brain implants to treat Parkinson’s Disease and to allow locked-in patients to communicate with their doctors; soon, it may also be possible to put smartphone technology inside your head.
Imagine if you could send a message by just thinking about what you wanted to say, switch on the lights in your house by just wanting them to be on, or listen to a song by just feeling that you wanted to hear it. The integration of smartphone technology with our brains could make us truly superhuman.