IBM hazards a guess in its newly released "Next Five in Five" list -- an annual compendium of inventions expected to come our way in five years. Over 3,000 researchers at the company's Almaden research lab contributed their esteemed opinions to produce this list. They are
(1) Three-dimensional interfaces are expected to begin hitting our laptops and televisions, with advancements going as far as holographic video conferencing from your smartphone.
(2) A more efficient battery; Scientists are developing lighter, less dense batteries which react with air and kinetic energy in order to stay charged. Similar to wristwatches which wind themselves through arm movement, these batteries will charge themselves with a simple shake. New transistors which require less voltage would also lessen the dependence on heavy lithium-ion batteries.
(3) Data sensors; An increased number of sensors in smartphones, cars, wallets, basically all of your personal items are predicted. On the theoretical plus side, these sensors will provide information about our surroundings which would enable scientists to better record stats worldwide.
(4) Improved travel recommendations; Commuters will have personalized routes for every destination, based on prior trips, current traffic, and estimated travel time.
(5) Better environmental control; Utilizing the heat given off by computers and data centers when working at full capacity, scientists might be able to recycle that energy into heating homes during the winter or powering air conditioners in the summer. Future water-cooling systems would also help reduce the whopping amounts of energy needed to cool modern data centers.
For more detail see