Interactive holographic displays and self-driving cars are in our future.

Future-Hand-ScannerWhile consumers are marveling at this year’s new tablets and smartphones, researchers are hard at work developing the next wave of computer technologies that will change our lives.

For starters, parallel computing is yielding extraordinary results. The once-experimental technology that allows computers to process multiple problems simultaneously is being used to create new breakthroughs in graphics rendering, language translation and even facial recognition. Berkeley Par Lab research professor Kurt Keutzer predicts that parallel computing will foster enormous advances in speed and power for every kind of electronics, from videogame consoles to handheld devices.

In addition to producing more powerful machines, new research is making it easier to work with computers. “The most exciting thing that’s happened in [user interface systems] is the rise of multi-touch screens, like the Wii [controller], and more recently the Microsoft Kinect,” says Scott Klemmer, a researcher at Stanford’s Human-Computer Interaction Group. “As opposed to writing down a set of textual commands … we envision people telling a computer, ‘When someone gestures like this, then the computer should do this.'”

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Source: Paul Jones | Forbes
Photo: Forbes