This week is IDF, Intel’s Developer Forum, and in the opening keynote Brian Krzanich walked us through some of the stuff that will be coming to PCs, tablets and smartphones. The event promises a future when our devices can hear and respond to our voice dynamically, they can take the place of controls and musical instruments with no latency, can see and measure what they see, can be worn, can have robots deliver stuff to you—not to mention there will be vending machines that know who you are—and this year, folks even had a shot at getting on a game show.
Let’s cover some of the highlights.
Wake On Voice
Developed with Microsoft (News - Alert) for Windows 10 Cortana this technology is always active. It allows you to walk up to your suspended Windows 10 PC ask it questions, and have it wake up and give you an answer or perform a task. This means you can just yell at your PC regardless of state and have it do things for you like play music, make appointments, answer questions and entertain you.
This was developed with Google (News - Alert) and what it does is remove the latency from screen input to action. Suppose you wanted to use your tablet as a musical instrument or a control for a drone latency, and let’s say the delay from when you hit the screen control until you get a response is your enemy. Well Google says they have apparently eliminated this issue so you will be able to increasingly use your tablets and smartphones to play good music or to control robots or drones in real time.
This is one of the bigger technologies that Intel (News - Alert) is pushing and they are working with both Google and Microsoft to advance it into the market. Future smartphones and tablets will not only be able to measure things they see but fully map them so that you can use your device to create a virtual model of anything you see. This is a full 3D model with accurate dimensions, depth and 3D appearance. You can effectively 3D scan the world. But this isn’t the only thing, it is moving into robotics and is part of the Open Source (News - Alert) Robotics Foundation. They showcased a robot made by Savioke which can accurately navigate and carry produce to users. Imagine a Coke machine that could deliver soda to your desk. You just log in, give the order, and the Coke, sandwich or chips shows up at your desk in a few minutes.
This is Intel’s 6th Generation CPU and clearly at the heart of IDF. They showcased a large triple-screen racing gaming rig with huge screens that not only was playing the game in near photorealistic resolutions but the image responded to how the driver moved his head and, of course, the system emulated car movements to enhance the gaming experience. This was followed by an impressive gaming rig from Razor—one of the most powerful gaming system builders in the market.
Showcasing the power of their Skylake platform, they exhibited Memomi which is a shopping-reinvented app. The Memomi Mirror, which is already in a number of Neman Marcus stores, allows someone to pick a piece of clothing in one color and then as they are standing in front of the mirror, change the color of that piece of clothing without changing and see it on you.
This could save lives. We often hear horror stories of parents who leave children in cars in the summer and either get arrested for child endangerment or worse, return to a dead child. The Nabi clip which uses Intel technology stays with the child and notifies you repeatedly on your cellphone if you have left the child behind, giving you piece of mind and possibly saving your child’s life.
Vending Machine of the Future
N&W showcased a new vending machine powered by Intel technology that has a color touch screen and sensors so they know the gender and approximate age of the customer walking up to it and can blend that with other information (like time and location) to present the most interesting products to the customer who can interact with it with gestures. It can also use a mobile application which will customize the experience for the customer and complete the transaction without a credit card. You would expect that mobile app will also pull customers to the machine if they are hungry or have another critical need (like they lost their phone charger).
EPID, Identity IQ and Security
Enhanced Privacy Identification (EPID) an advanced security technology that will make sure all of this stuff is secure and you won’t have to deal with the danger of having your identity or credit card compromised. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to replace credit cards three times already this year). It promises a future world that is far more secure than the one we currently live in.
One of the interesting security technologies Intel showcased was a security bracelet which auto logged into the user’s PC but would reset when it was removed so no one else could use it to gain unauthorized access. This is part of their Identity IQ effort.
When we talk about lousy performance in our tablets and phones chances are we are talking about network speed not processor speed. Intel is promising to drive 5G—the next generation in wireless wide area network technology. Yes, they basically announced your new cellphone is obsolete but then you likely already knew this.
Wearable Technology: The Next Generation of Smartwatch
Fossil showcased their next generation of smartwatch. Broadening the concept to connected accessories Fossil showcased their holiday product line coming in October of this year. They showcased some bracelets and watches that push the envelope in connectivity and function and size, both small and large, for this technology. Every attendee got a Basis Peak smartwatch to drive home the point that Intel can be wearable.
Curie: The Computer That Can Fit in a Button
Containing the processor, memory, wireless connectivity and charging in a button-sized package is pretty amazing. The demonstration was using a BMX bike that is used for acrobatics. Curie was placed in different locations around the bike, and the data that was captured could generate a real-time virtual image of the bike mimicking its actions. This can be used for training or for sports news programs covering the action. The presentation ended with the rider jumping over Brian’s head.
America’s Greatest Maker
Intel has hired Mark Burnett, the guy behind a variety of huge TV shows and in collaboration with Turner Broadcasting (News - Alert), and he is creating Americas Greatest Maker contest. It is a reality contest focused on folks making new creative amazing products. Winner of the competition gets $1 million. Boy if that doesn’t get the brain cells firing I don’t know what will.
This is my term not theirs but they showcased a keyboard that appeared to float in midair tied with a technology that excited air so that when you interacted with the keyboard it actually felt like you were touching something. It likely felt a bit spooky thus my name but still having something that only exists virtually be useful and have some feeling is pretty amazing.
Developer’s conferences are almost always about speeds and feeds with much of the content on what the firm is building. Intel does this better, they focus on giving developers ideas around what they could develop, getting them excited about the future and what they can do with the technology. That’s the way developer’s conferences should be; it shouldn’t be about selling technology, that was done and is the reason the audience is there. Rather, it is about driving their imaginations to create amazing new things. That’s what Brian Krzanich did and it was exactly right.
Of course the fact I wanted to buy some of this stuff was an added plus.
The event ended with Brian leading a bunch of mechanical spiders in a dance while promising they wouldn’t cause the end of the world. I decided to wander out in case he was wrong (I’ve clearly seen too many killer robot movies).