Talking about an Internet of the senses may still seem like something of the future for some, however the evolution of technology in the last 20 years has been exponential compared to the previous two centuries, so we probably have less left than we think so that let our brains, and not the devices around us, control our environment .
And this is how large companies want to make us go from the Internet of Things to the ‘Internet of the senses’. Many experts in the technological field affirm that the next industrial revolution will be the so-called cognitive computing , that is, that our brain is the engine of our smart home , for example. This would be possible thanks to three key elements: virtual reality and augmented reality, the increase in the speed of networks and connections and the use of different and highly advanced wearables .
These factors together would result in immersive experiences in which we could use all of our senses .
They develop a device that allows you to control video games with your tongue
We have already taken the first step for this ‘ Black Mirror ‘ world: we are many, many, citizens who use wearables and IoT devices in our daily lives.
Specifically, according to data from Statista, the number of connected wearables around the world has more than doubled in the space of three years, increasing from 325 million in 2016 to 722 million in 2019. It is expected to reach more than one billion in 2022 .
Growth within the wearable device market is primarily driven by two factors: smartwatch sales – Apple , which introduced its first smartwatch in 2015, currently dominates the smartwatch market – and the rise in popularity of wireless headphones .
One of the smart home devices that have become the most popular is locks.
The ‘smart home’ market will grow at a rate of 22.3% annually globally
Regarding IoT devices , experts point out that around two-thirds of consumers will buy one of these smart devices in 2021 . The truth is that the options are very diverse and there are more and more proposals on the market, from speakers -the most popular- to refrigerators.
Thus, we have a multitude of sensors installed in our lives that allow data capture and all that information helps machine learning and artificial intelligence evolve. and that these are used for practical things in our lives, for example knowing the state of roads in terms of traffic or the capacity of a space.
The next step is ‘just’ a little bit more
WeWALK provides blind friendly browsing
WeWALK: a cane for the blind with Google Maps, speaker and that can be connected to the mobile
Nowadays it is not strange for us to control with our voice all the devices that we have scattered around our home, or even our own mobile . From asking TV to put ‘ The Squid Game ‘ on Netflix to telling the smartphone to call home, to talking to speakers with Alexa, Siri or the Google Assistant to plug in the lights or turn on the heating.
Also outside the home we have access to a connected world: ‘smart’ cars that prevent us from drifting out of lane or getting too close to the vehicle in front by stiffening the steering or braking automatically to avoid a collision.
Google can be compared to the Big Brother described by George Orwell in 1984.
Are we living in a digital Big Brother? This is what the Internet would be like without Google, Facebook or Microsoft
With the technological advance that manufacturers are making and the jump that 6G is expected to represent compared to the current 5G – it says that it will be 50 times faster and will be within our reach after the year 2030 -, now we only have to be willing to ‘ give up ‘our body, something that does not seem that it will be very complicated: according to a report on the expectations of the consumers of Ericsson , almost 60% of the respondents think that the brain will be the next interface of the users.
The Internet of the senses
As I said at the beginning, the next great advance and perhaps the most important revolution of our time will be cognitive computing . This nicknamed ‘Internet of the senses’ will link the physical world with the digital world through humans, trying to create interfaces that mimic the behavior of our brain .
Here, automatic learning systems and natural language processing will be the technologies that take on the most prominence and these disciplines will play a key role in allowing our control of the environment to be further digitized and to have truly immersive experiences.
What will those experiences be like? What parts of our body will come into play? Our sensory organs will be the new wearables and peripherals .
Half of those surveyed by Ericsson bet on sight as the leader, and imagine that the difference between physical and digital reality will have almost completely disappeared by 2030 due to 3D holographic displays .
The ear will also have an important weight, since there will be – in fact, there are already – instant translators that will allow us to control our sound environment . The reality is that there are already many experiences in this regard, such as instant Google translation or real-time subtitles from video conferencing platforms, which make traveling abroad, giving conferences or working in another country no longer a problem. .
There are other senses, however, that are more complicated to introduce in this digital transformation, but this does not mean that consumers put less expectations about the future: 6 out of 10 hope to be able to visit distant places digitally and experience the natural aromas of those places . Scent books have already been tested in the analog world. It is possibly the biggest challenge we face, as we are capable of processing some 450,000 different smells, a range so immense that the process of digitizing them is very complex.
It happens in a similar way with taste. Although, as in everything, the most curious tests have already been done, such as this Japanese device capable of recreating almost any flavor without food , we are talking about a complicated task: getting flavors to be recreated in the mouth exactly how we want, or even get to be able to savor the flavors of our childhood or products that have already disappeared .
And finally, touch: again 6 out of 10 of the people consulted by Ericsson think about the existence of devices that stimulate the nerves to feel any object or person in 2030 . That the devices have even that sensitivity of force realized when pressing an object. In medicine, for example, it could be a significant advance to reproduce on a screen the sensation of pricking an arm or even operating on a person.