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IBM's innovation predictions include holograms, cars that predict traffic

Hologram Nevermind GPS -- cars of the future will be able to predict traffic conditions ahead of time and tell you how to best plan your route. Your cellphone will run on air. And conference calls will entail sitting across the table from a hologram.

Those are some of IBM's predictions on new technologies that will hit the ground by 2015. The annual "Five in Five" forecasts five innovations likely to be developed in the next five years. This year's predictions:

1. "Citizen scientists" will collect real-time data about their environment using sensors in cars, phones or wallets, which can then be used by professional scientists for research.

2. Holograms will become commonplace. People will be able to interact with far-away friends in 3D, using something as commonplace as a cellphone.

3. Today's batteries will become obsolete. Cellphones may be powered by batteries that run on oxygen, and static or kinetic energy may eliminate batteries altogether for smaller devices.

4. Instead of wasting the massive amounts of energy needed to cool them, computer and data centers will recycle the heat energy the machines generate, potentially helping to power cities.

5. "Adaptive traffic systems" will personalize your commute, anticipating congestion and other issues to get you to work with a minimum of road rage.


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 -- Abby Sewell

Photo: A hologram is the center of attention in a scene  from "Star Wars." IBM predicts holograms will become commonplace in the near future. Credit: Associated Press / Lucasfilm Ltd.

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