September 03 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Other Year: General Rating: 1
By Dick Pelletier
You enter the supermarket, grab an electronic cart that recognizes you from your touch, toss in some bags and begin shopping. The monitor on your ‘smart cart’ displays products, price, and total amount spent; and even subtracts items returned to the shelf.
As you wind through the aisles, the cart’s voice recognizes products you’re running low on, and offers special discounts just for you. When finished shopping, simply tap a ‘chipped’ finger indicating payment preference and walk out the door – no more lines or grocery clerks to deal with. On exit, select an option to deactivate or encrypt all chips, which protects your privacy by preventing evildoers from tracking you or your merchandise.
After putting items away at home, the milk might say, “I expire in nine days, would you like a 24-hour reminder”, or the hat you purchased may say, “Hey Dick, why not wear me now, you know how great I make you look”.
By 2012, experts believe the above scenarios could be happening at stores everywhere.
Milwaukee futurist David Zach agrees that voice-enabled chips will increase efficiency. Clothes could remark, “Don’t wash me with colors”; cars may cry out, “I need oil”, and a glass might tell the bartender, “he’s had enough”.
Wearable computer maker Vocollect believes their voice-enabled machines can team up with RFID (Radio Frequency ID) chips used to identify items, and create an enormous array of exciting applications.
RFID chips transmit information that identifies objects like food, drugs, clothing, cars, machines, and documents; even animals and people. Vocollect VP Larry Sweeney says, “Voice is good at directing people, while RFID is good at capturing data; together they make our lives more efficient”.
Voice-enabled ID chips are rapidly spreading to other industries too:
• IBM’s GPS Speech-Enabled Web Applications for Mobile Phones enables commuters to ask “When will the next bus arrive?” Their cell phone then responds in a clear voice, “Waiting time 5 minutes.” College students can ask how many machines are available at the Laundromat before making the trip; when parking, people can ask if there are any empty spaces before entering the lot; and web users can tell the system to identify incoming emails, or opt to have newsletters and articles read while walking or driving.
• Correctional facilities in California, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota have installed RFID tracking systems to help reduce escapes. Last spring, Minnesota deployed a system at Lino Lakes that tracks the location of inmates 24/7. If a fight breaks out, guards quickly identify everyone involved. The system has already reduced disturbances.
• Chips implanted under the skin provide foolproof identity of who we are. Florida-based VeriChip makes an FDA-approved chip the size of a grain of rice that keeps Alzheimer’s patients and children from getting lost and prevents abductions of newborns from hospitals.
Future systems will start cars, unlock doors, and when connected to ‘glasses-cams’, will identify people we meet on the street. By 2020, these electronic marvels will provide genetic information to doctors and monitor our well being.
ID chips and voice recognition systems promise to revolutionize shopping experiences and provide an amazing “magical future” for our enjoyment.
This article will appear in various print media and blogs; comments welcome. See other published work by Dick at http://www.positivefuturist.com and click on the “published work” tab.