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This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.
Controlling a device with your mind. Powering your home with the energy of your own activities. These are two of the developments that experts at IBM think will become reality within the next five years. The technology company has released its latest "5 in 5" report. The experts think people will soon be able to control many electronic devices simply by using their minds. Scientists at IBM and other companies are researching ways to do this in a field of science known as bioinformatics.
They say people will soon have a way to just think about calling or e-mailing someone in order to make it happen. Bernie Meyerson is IBM's vice president of innovation. He says the idea is for "something with really deep capability so that a person, for instance, a quadriplegic, a paraplegic can actually utilize brainwaves to make things happen and basically run their own lives independently."
Another prediction is a way for people to power their homes and offices using energy from activities like walking or running. Still another prediction: passwords could soon become a thing of the past. IBM says developments in biometric technology could soon make passwords unnecessary. Some of the most common biometrics used to identify people are fingerprints, face and voice recognition, and iris scans. The iris is the colored part of the eye. Bernie Meyerson says this technology will soon be more widely used by money machines and other devices.
Another prediction from the experts at International Business Machines: better technology to prevent unwanted e-mail. The fifth prediction on IBM's 5 in 5 list is an end to the "digital divide" between those who have technology and those who do not. Bernie Meyerson says: "We anticipate within five years, better than eighty percent coverage of the world's population by cellular to smartphones. At that point, imagine having, for instance, the ability to speak openly with anybody anywhere, anytime and any language -- real time translation. Literally, the old 'Star Trek' idea of the universal translator coming to be, and how the world would change if there were that kind of communication and openness."