We have plenty of technologies (and products) that have been developed over the years (and keep evolving) to meet specific needs and market targets.
We are now seeing, more and more, a converging of technologies and products to solve specific needs. And I just run onto an example here.
Autisms can be difficult to detect in its early stages (that is in young children) and at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development they are experimenting a new approach for early detection: use Kinect cameras, that were developed to recognize gesture for interacting with a game. What if one places a number of these cameras in a kindergarten, as part of the ambient, and have a computer to check over time how the little children move, interact with one another and with the environment to detect early signs of autisms?
The system is being presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, and that is not the place where I would have expected to see people discussing autism support! Indeed, by exploiting a variety of technologies it becomes possible to solve problems in quite different areas. I really feel this is going to be what will be characterizing the next 5 years. Leveraging from diversity. As each technology/application/data is being made available in an open framework people will find new, smart and ingenious ways to use them.