HP rounded off a week of launches with a glimpse of what the future may hold for all of us.

Following on from 2 days of unveiling its latest line-up of notebooks, PDAs, desktops and more, HP's Phil McKinney, vice president and chief technology officer of the Personal Systems Group, took to the stage to offer ideas of the technology we could all be using in the next 20 years.

And, according to HP, we are about to enjoy "the perfect storm of innovation".

By 2010, the notion of "Always connected" will come into play, and by 2015, we will all be able to "virtually collaborate", so, for example, you'll be able to join meetings even if you're in a different time zone, using an avatar, which will then recap what's happened to you when you're available.

(You could also use the avatar to sit in a meeting when you want to pretend to be there when you're actually watching Eastenders.)

By 2020, the focus will be on virtual communities like Second Life.

McKinney said not only will they be enjoying massive popularity but governments will give them legal status - offering them "recognition as distinct entities separate from the physical world".

So people will be able to sue each other virtually as well as, well, properly.

By 2025, we will all be connected all the time, using mesh networks to provide "peer to peer access to all content for all people".

And by 2027 - the products running off the "pervasive network" will start appearing.

McKinney showed off several cognitive devices that "learn" what you do by being behaviour aware.

First up were "wearable data managers" - in this case - rings, which have the user's profile stored on them so that they can immediately interact with any device that they walk up to.

For the future workplace, there was the Interactive Work Surface, which you can draw onto (like you would a chalk board), and the person you are communicating with can immediately see what you have sketched, and the Tablet, which also lets you share images and video conference at the same time.

And then, our favourite, the volume printer, which would use resins and apoxies to create 3D products, which you can then push back down and they disappear.

Just like magic!