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The future's not so far away

As a kid dreaming about the future I never thought about personal computers because they werent imagined at the time. I thought more about personal jetpacks and getting behind the wheel of my very own George Jetson car. Those two things never materialized but personal computers did and with each generation they have become smaller and faster. So what does the future hold for personal computers? Computer futurists, in the form of engineering professors, are adapting nanotechnology to develop nanocomputers. Personal computers of the future are predicted to be a thousand times smaller and a thousand times faster than PCs today. There will be one on our desk out of preference but not necessity because of the mind-boggling miniaturization nanotechnology will bring. Imagine a desktop computer that takes up less space than a coffee cup. That future should start to appear in the next five years. Simultaneous advancements are occurring with input devices. Dragons speech recognition program has been around for the last five years or so. The latest version, NaturallySpeaking 10, turns voice into text with almost 100 percent accuracy. While programs like NaturallySpeaking are in use today, the mouse and keyboard rule as computer input devices. Tomorrow those items will be secondary to gesture-based devices where users are free to roam as they talk and use gestures to create computer input. The Nintendo Wii game is an example of that type of advancement that is here today. Whatever the future brings it will be exciting to see the changes unfold and become part of our lives. I took the telephone and automobile for granted years ago just as the students I have today take cell phones and computers for granted. What will be the new things that the next generation will take for granted? Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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