Three recent IBM patents that will inform future health:
1. System and method for providing answers to questions does exactly what it sounds like. Much like you can now ask Siri on your iPhone about the weather, IBM has developed a semantic system for understanding questions asked by a person and then providing an answer in context. But IBM's system aims to be much more flexible than Siri, generating “candidate answers” that are the most likely responses even as the question is being asked, then delivering the answer that best fits the inquiry. It's how IBM's Watson creamed Ken Jennings on Jeopardy! U.S. Patent #8,275,803 filed September 25, 2012.
2. Electronic learning synapse with spike-timing dependent plasticity using unipolar memory-switching elements is an effort to mimic the human brain with a computer. More specifically, it's a system for microchips to emulate your brain's synapses. It's part of the research that's come out of IBM's SyNAPSE project that is working to reproduce the architecture of the brain, which is backed by Pentagon funding to the tune of $21 million in its current phase. U.S. Patent #8,250,010 filed Aug. 21, 2012.
3. Thin substrate fabrication using stress-induced substrate spalling is a low-cost semiconductors material to allow for thin and flexible products. Sure that could mean biomedical or wearable technology applications, but it could also mean some sort of electricity-carrying android skin. Not only will this manufacturing method be capable of making a solar-powered cell, it will do it cheaply. U.S. Patent #8,247,261 filed August 21, 2012.