INTEL HAS SHOWED OFF several innovations and prototypes that it believes will be the technology of the future.
The chipmaker said that not long from now data transferred via the skin, wireless charging of devices and drones with spatial awareness will be the norm.
Here's a round-up of the most promising innovations exhibited in a Future Showcase event in London this week.
Skin data transfer
One of the creepiest prototypes on show was skin data transfer, which demonstrated how someone could use their skin to store information and pass the data from one device to another without the need to send it over WiFi, email or Dropbox, for instance.
The data is transferred to the skin via a bracelet, which picks up the data when the wearer presses specially built touch points on a laptop. Once the data has been sent, it can be retrieved by touching the same points on a different machine.
Intel said that this technology could be used in the future to make it easier for people to take information from one device to the next, for example, map coordinates from a home laptop to a car sat nav.
RealSense 3D camera updates
It was pretty much all the chipmaker talked about at its developer forum in September, and one of the big focuses for Intel this coming year is the RealSense camera tech and updated 3D scanning features.
We already see RealSense cameras in selected tablets, like the Dell Venue 8 7000 series, but Intel told us that the cameras will be placed into other devices including laptops and tablets, making it possible to accurately scan 3D items from a mobile device.
The camera update also means that the depth perception can be used in video recording as opposed to just imagery as seen previously, so users will be able to record measurements between points in an environment in real time and record the measurements as they pan around.
An example of the types of technology taking advantage of this updated RealSense camera technology is Intel's autonomous Firefly drones made in partnership with ASCTEC.
The drone has six RealSense depth-perception cameras mounted on the top to give it 360-degree views, and is able to self-navigate, making it easier and safer as the operator can just focus on an end point to send the drone and the device will fly there automatically evading any obstacles.
This was showed off originally at CES this year, when Intel CEO Brian Krzanich raced two drones through an assault course without hitting a thing.
Binaural audio is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones to create a 3D stereo sound for the listener, creating the impression of actually being in the room with the performers or instruments.
Intel has translated this idea of a 3D or 'internal' form of sound and shrunk it down so that we will soon be able to listen to and record the 3D sound on a smartphone.
We tested the technology in the form of some earphones that look like they had been worn by a million other people. Nevertheless, it revealed how a video comprising different actions, such as a hand clap, can manipulate your brain to think the sound is coming from the room you are in through this realistic Binaural audio technology.
Intel has been banging on about this for what seems like years now. The firm's PC Client Group GM, Kirk Skaugen, first showed it off at Computex in 2014. But that doesn't mean it's not a strong contender in what we are likely to see built into devices as standard in the not so distant future.
The technology works over a simple receiver that goes into client devices, along with a resonance board that acts as a dock which creates its own wireless hotspot.
Intel demonstrated how the standard will work using a laptop that automatically powered up and charged as soon as it reached the surface of the table using the magnetic charging field built into the desk surface.
This technology will also be able to charge wireless Bluetooth earpieces, wearable devices, tablets and notebooks. However, it doesn't have to be built-in to devices to work, as Intel said it can also be retrofitted into the cases of the devices we carry around.
Intel home gateway
If Intel was to validate its aggressive position on the Internet of Things (IoT) this was certainly the way to do it. The firm demonstrated a technology it calls Home Gateway, which uses a hub plugged into a home WiFi router that acts a control point for all the devices you might have around the home connected to the same network. This includes light bulbs, security cameras, speakers, as well as your standard tablet, smartphone and laptop.
An app installed on the user's system of choice can then control all these devices from one place, and it can even be programmed to track the user's position in the home and change the devices around them as they move through the environment, without the need for manual configuration.
Intel Compute Stick
The Compute stick has been available for some time, but it's still a big bet for Intel as the firm sees potential in its versatility, lending itself to being a cheap alternative to an all-in-one machine, or the hub of a home entertainment centre running Windows Media Centre or XBMC (Kodi).
The dongle-sized HDMI stick boasts 2GB of RAM, 32GB of solid state storage and Wireless N. Powered by micro USB, just like a Chromecast, there's also a full-sized USB port and Bluetooth 4.0.
Compute Stick seems to be a halfway house between the likes of the Raspberry Pi, with its 'roll your own' credentials, and something that offers more flexibility than a streaming stick by having a complete operating system in a tiny form factor.
The stick is available now for around £130, depending on where you buy it. µ
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