As noted, ubiquitous computing — also known as “pervasive computing” and “everyware” — is coming. Already today we have computers in our cars, our phones, our toys, and even our fridges. But they’re still very obvious. We often have to hold them. Or use keyboards to input information into them.
Image: The sensor-laden pilates shirt called “Move” designed by Jennifer Darmour.
These devices, however, are getting steadily smaller owing to the miniaturization revolution that’s in full swing (e.g. the shift towards microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS). In short order we’ll be living in a Rainbow’s End world, where information processing devices will be virtually everywhere, but completely invisible — absorbed into our surroundings. These computers will be in our clothes, our fashion accessories, and even in our contact lenses. And to use them we’ll use natural language and haptic technologies (i.e. tactile feedback). Or better yet, these devices will be endowed with a certain level of “ambient intelligence” to help them perform autonomously under specific conditions.
So by the 2030s we’ll be completely surrounded by computers, but utterly unaware of their presence.