|Intel’s Edison livens up wearable smart devices
Computer chip giant Intel unveiled a major new push into wearables and connecting everyday devices as it seeks to leapfrog the competition in mobile computing.
Chief executive Brian Krzanich said in Las Vegas that Intel would produce on its own or with partners a range of products from a health monitor integrated into baby clothes to heart monitor in earbuds, AFP’s Rob Lever reports.
(Pictured, Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich shows the smart headset and earbud designs, providing full stereo audio, heart rate monitor and pulse check).
Speaking at the opening keynote of the massive Consumer Electronics Show, Krzanich showed the company's new “personal assistant'' dubbed Jarvis, which is Intel's answer to the voice-activated Google Now and Apple's Siri.
Intel will be producing a smartwatch with “geofencing'' which allows families to get alerts if children or elderly parents leave a specific geographic area.
The new devices will all be available this year, Krzanich said.
Krzanich said Intel is taking a new approach to wearable computing, seeking to address specific problems with the simplest technology.
He showed a turtle-shaped sensor on baby clothing which can send information to a smart coffee cup about an infant's breathing, temperature and position.
He said the earbuds would enable runners and athletes who already listen to music while exercising to get detailed health information in real time.
He said the new technology all revolves around its new chip called Edison, which is said integrates a full-fledged computer in the size of a memory card.
He said Intel will be partnering with the luxury retailer Barneys New York, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and design house Opening Ceremony to explore and market smart wearable technology.
And Intel will offer US$1.3 million in prizes for other developers who come up with new ideas for wearable computing, including a first prize of US$500 million.
To address questions about security, Intel will offer its McAfee mobile software free of charge.
“We believe this will allow this ecosystem to flourish.''
Intel remains the world's biggest producer of chips for personal computers but has been lagging in the surging mobile marketplace of tablets and smartphones. The new initiative could allow the California firm to get a bigger slice of the mobile market's newest iterations.
Intel also said its new chips would allow for a “dual boot'' that enables computer makers to include Microsoft Windows and Google Android on a single device, with users able to change with the switch of a button.
“There are times you want Windows, there are times you want Android,'' he said. “You don't have to make a choice, you can have both.''
Intel also unveiled a new 3D camera called RealSense which can be integrated into tablets and enable users to produce and manipulate three-dimensional images.
This can for example allow a user to design a toy or other object and then send it to a 3D printer. Intel produced chocolate bars using the technology which were handed out to the attendees at CES.