Highlights From Intel’s Research “Science Fair” Day

Today I had the pleasure of attending Intel’s Research Day held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Rather than showcase the chips of the present, Intel showed off, in a very high school science fair fashion, over 70 futuristic technology innovations and inventions. Most interested in the mobile technology, rather than the home and medical innovation being shown off, I jotted down notes on a few very compelling technologies likely to soon mate with laptops and mobile gadgets. In what Intel is calling “Carry Small, Live Large,” we can expect our mobile Internet devices and laptops over the next few years to:

  • Contain Magnometers and Accelerometers. If I were a judge in the science fair I would say the winner was the displayed Sony UX with a magnometer dongle. The dongle gave the device the ability to act as a compass, recognizing which way was North, South, East and West. On display on the screen was an image of Tiananmen Square; as you turned the direction of the device (or your body) different sections or views of the square appeared, just as if you were standing right there in the center of the square. Even better, the accelerometer let you zoom in on the picture by just angling the device forward. Built-in software let the computer know the picture was showing and it pulled information from the Internet on the history of specific buildings.
  • Wirelessly discover a Wi-Fi high definition display. Intel was also using a Sony UX to demonstrate how eventually we will be able to eliminate VGA cords and hook up a laptop to another display by simply using near field communication and 802.11n wireless connectivity. Embedding software, near field communication technology and 802.11n connectivity in an LCD was all it took to show it off. The UX was able to be paired with a Samsung LCD television by tapping it on the screen. In a matter of seconds they were paired together and the Sony UX’s desktop was displayed and sent over the direct 802.11n connection. The picture on the 40 -inch LCD was crisp and video streamed quite nicely.
  • Act as a wireless access point. Probably the most needed technology that was demoed was Intel’s Cliffside Wi-Fi pan which is a simple answer to wireless syncing. Finally! The technology, which will be available for Centrino Two systems, splits a Wi-Fi connection into public and private points. The private creates a Personal Area Network similar to Bluetooth or Wireless USB which can aid in connecting nearby wireless devices. Without having to be connected to the Net, you can sync wireless digital cameras, media players or other devices with your laptop.
  • Contain embedded antennas for digital TV. Intel demonstrated the first ever embedded balanced antenna for digital TV. Rather than having to attach an external antenna to use a built-in TV tuner a built-in antenna seems to be in the works. Why have they not been embedded up until now? Apparently, they would create too much interference and diminish audio quality.
  • Connect to other laptops to create a large display. I am not sure why you would want to do this, but it is pretty cool. Intel showed off three ThinkPad tablets and the ability to create a large, uniform display using three separate devices. All the devices connect over Wi-Fi and use special software to enable the functionality.
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