At the final keynote at IDF today, Intel talked about how the future will not be one based on a single mobile technology, but a future of 7 billion connected mobile platforms. Not 7 billion mobile devices, but 7 billion connected humans. Dr. Genevieve Bell, an Intel Fellow and anthropologist, described how we should view the human being as the ultimate mobile platform and that developers should draw inspiration from the needs and desires of humans in order to shape the future.
Citing how we have, throughout the ages, used technology to extend our physical selves, augment our deficiencies and increase our capacity to accomplish tasks, Dr. Bell shared important insights into people’s desires and frustrations with technology. In particular, users want technology that’s personal, which unburdens them from complex usage, help them stay in the moment and helping them be better selves.
But in order to do so, Intel says that an entire ecosystem has to be in place to support the vision. And it is important to enable leading developers to deliver future innovations by having complete set of building blocks from silicon, operating systems to middleware, applications and services at their disposal.
As a start, Intel is working hard to extend their silicon technology to build devices with extremely low power consumption. Intel believes that experiences will be driven by devices that requires power many magnitudes lower than is required today. Dr. Bell shared how devices in the future will get more integrated into everyday objects and it’s important that these operate for weeks or even months. How great if these low power devices can draw power from body heat, or from ambient light? But in order to realize this, Intel will need to build silicon that can operate in the mW (milli-watt) range.
Demonstrating the concept of embedded devices operating at low power, Intel showed how a battery made using a glass of wine could power an experimental microprocessor. The device was able to sense, communicate and control the motion of a rendered object on another computer.
However, silicon is only one part of the equation. Developers need to build middleware that help devices understand the context in which users are operating. Only then applications and services can take these context aware devices to deliver individualized mobile experiences. As an example, Intel demonstrated devices that know the owner by the way they walk or recognize people by their voices. It then determines a set of activities and preferences based on the people it sees, hears or feels. These devices are also intelligent as it learns over time, automatically collecting vital data about the user through its various built-in sensors, so that it’s able to create personalized mobile experiences unique only to the individual.
All these may sound like fantasies out of a science fiction book, but it’s through imagination and aspiration that developers derive exciting new innovations. Intel knows this all too well and is one that employs a multi-disciplinary approach to develop technologies for the future.