IBM’s Design Lab Peers Into The Future, Surfaces With Gadgets

By David Ho

Beneath a glass pyramid rising abruptly from quiet woods, IBM is thinking about the future. It is a new kind of vision for a company known for its mammoth mainframe computers and business software. Here at Big Blue’s Corporate Design Center, also known as the “gadget lab,� there are prototypes galore. A speech-recognition headset that reads lips. An audio and video mixing studio the size of a handheld video game. A wireless handheld device for stock traders. Some are working devices while others are only steps beyond the imagination, but IBM engineers think their gadgets could change the way people work and play. The effort is part of the company’s larger strategic shift toward the consulting and services business.

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