by January 21, 2014 0 comments

IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization, today announced the results of its “CES: What’s Next” game, which gathered insights from more than 3,000 CES attendees and its Facebook fans on the future of consumer electronics based on predictions from IEEE expert members. While many are touting the future as the age of machine control and robots, 75 percent of the top predictions selected by survey participants skewed towards the desire for mind or movement control in four categories of up-and-coming technologies: smart appliances, exoskeletons, curved screens on cellphones and 3D printers.

Think Smart Appliances Are Cool Now?

Participants thought that the only thing better than having an app tell your coffee maker that it’s time to start brewing a fresh pot in the morning, is having their brains telling it to serve up a cup. Forty-two percent of respondents think that the future smart home appliances will be mind controlled. Dean Aslam, IEEE Senior Member and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University, explained that, “through use of wearable Microsystems equipped with inexpensive and non-invasive brainwave and muscle sensors, we will be able to set specific patterns and thoughts to turn on ceiling fans, appliances or even lights. When you get cold, all you’ll need to do is blink your left eye twice or think about raising the temperature on the thermostat and you’ll warm right up. If you go to sleep without switching off lights and TV, they will be automatically switched off the moment the sensors find you in the state of sleep.”

Ready to Control Your Own J.A.R.V.I.S.?

Forty-three percent of “CES: What’s Next” participants who chose the robotic exoskeleton as the next big technology of the future agreed with Kevin Curran, IEEE Senior Member and professor of Computing and Engineering at the University of Ulster, that an Iron Man-like suit would be the most probable application of the innovation. Curran predicted that, “while an exoskeleton is basically a robot in physical contact with a human, in the future, we will have solved the problem of how a human user interfaces with their device. The operator will be able to perform dexterously with natural movements without having to think about it.”

Which Phone Should I Wear Today?

Of the more than 1,100 participants predicting the applications of curved screens on devices, 40 percent believe that wearable technology is the future of the curved screen, rather than being able to fold or even roll up their screens. “The more flexible form factors allowed by curved screens and plastic logic circuitry will enable devices to increasingly be wearable, allowing the wearer to control everything in their life right from the fabric of their clothing,” said William Webb, IEEE Fellow, CEO of Weightless SIG. “The days of the large five-inch display handset may be numbered, but big jewelry may be about to make a comeback.”

What Should We Print for Dinner?

A week after its release, “CES: What’s Next” results show that while 3D printing is currently getting a lot of media attention, only 20 percent of the total players made it their selection for top tech of the future. However, fifty-one percent of participants who see the promise of the technology selected multi-material 3D printing, an innovation that would benefit humanity and not just themselves. “The promise of developing technologies like bioprinting, food printing and small-batch manufacturing could save lives, reduce hunger, and democratize manufacturing,” said Curran.

“CES: What’s Next” is a game released by IEEE to gain perspective from its growing community of engineers and technologists on Facebook and CES attendees about what will be the next influential technology for the consumer electronics industry. The game will be running throughout the month of January and players have a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

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