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By 2018, computers will touch, see, hear, taste and smell

In its annual '5 in 5' predictions, IBM forecasted that in five years, computers will gain the five senses and be able to experience the world as humans do.


gallery ibm 5 senses taste

Within the next five years, a computer will help you make the perfect recipe -- not too sweet, not too salty, not too crunchy, but just the way you like it.

By breaking down foods to the molecular level, computers will be able to use complex algorithms to determine what flavor combinations are the most appealing. They could then develop recipes that provide the ideal flavor and texture of food. Think of it as the Watson of Top Chef.

The technology could be used to help people eat better, IBM says. By making healthy foods taste better, people might crave vegetable dishes instead of sugary and fatty junk foods.

Though computers aren't quite there yet, they are "tasting" things today. Specially designed microchips are being used in chemical and power plants to sense biohazards in the air. IBM researchers are working to adapt that technology to analyze the chemical structures in food.

- Last updated December 17 2012 09:11 AM ET