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Future Gadget & Tech Preview from Inside Intel’s Research Labs


At the labs at Intel, the scientists are constantly working on inventing tomorrow’s technology – and this may be a surprise, but not all of that research involves computer processors. Last week, we were invited along with a group of other women bloggers to come to Intel’s Santa Clara headquarters, where we were offered a sneak peak at some gadgety research projects that Intel is currently working on. Read on for more.

When worn, this watch communicates with your computer every-time you make a gesture. The device is all about making natural gestures so that you can interact with your computer (or a mobile device) – without having to actually use it. For instance, putting your hand to your head would automatically dial your voicemail. This tech could potentially be used in mobile phones.

Using special software, these four tablets are able to collaborate with one another. That opens up a ton of possibilities – including the ability to extend all 4 displays in to a whole image. You can also drag data from one tablet to another so that users can easily collaborate over and share documents. Eventually this technology will become hardware based so that it will be powerful enough for the tablets to share and extend video.

This shiny platter is actually a wafer, which is what they call a sheet that contains lots of chips on its surface. In this case, it’s a wafer that holds a total of 80 cores! Intel’s research team is using it to test how all of the cores can communicate with one another and get along. A powerful wafer like this could one day be used to power sophisticated Ray Tracing, which is used to create realistic physics in the rendering of a scene for video games.

One day, through the use of augmented objects, the Wii controller will seem like ancient technology. We got to try out a system where you could play a bubble popping game on your laptop just by waving your hands in the air – no controller required.

This isn’t just future tech, it’s already happening. Announced at CES, TV widgets with Yahoo are sure to be the next big thing. The system powering the widgets is powered by Intel’s new Gigabyte device that has the CPU & GPU all on one chip. That allows the device to be powerful enough to process 2 streams of HD content simultaneously, which are 3x the quality of Blu-ray. That also means that the system is future proof and will be able to handle really heavy duty HD files – as they become available. The system also has support for Flash 10, H.264, MPEG, and expect Divx soon.

In person, the widgets UI really is very neat. The actual UI itself is also 1080P so that the whole experience is crystal clear. Widgets can even be resized, so that they aren’t blocking video. To name a few, some widgets currently in the works include content pulled from Joost, photos from flickr, and trailers coming from Blockbuster. You can expect to see these Gigabyte boxes become available privately through manufacturers like Samsung and eventually through Cable providers.

Intel is researching “persuasive technologies”, in the form of mobile phone applications that encourage you to do positive things. For example, Ubifit garden is a garden application that blooms as you do activity. If you do physical activity while wearing an accelerometer, a flower will bloom, and different flowers will bloom for different kinds of activity.

Ubigreen is a similar app that detects walking, bicycling, and doing eco-friendly activities such as taking the bus. The more ecological activities that you participate in, the more polar bears and amounts of ice will show up in your “north pole”. The app also has icons on the bottom of its UI that reinforce the benefits of being green. For example, walking not only helps the environment, but it saves you money. This app could easily work on the WebOS or Android smartphone platforms.

Chances are that you’ll be seeing this point of sale terminal on display at a retailer in the next couple of years. This smart POS terminal can potentially identify what kind of in store shopper is walking by it and it will show ads accordingly. Think Minority Report – so for example, when a kids walks by, toys will show up on its display. It also offers a user experience that is modeled after the typical online shopping experience. Additionally, it will be able to do cool interactive things, like show you what a shirt will look like with a pair of pants you are considering buying. Retailers will appreciate the fact that the system is modular an upgradeable – you can literally swap out its parts. It also features power saving tools, like the ability to turn on when someone walks by it.

This IP media phone from Open Peak is similar to the Verizon Hub, and is set to transform home handsets forever. It connects to your VOIP or landline and doubles as a baby monitor, a phone book, instant messenger, text messenger, a way to watch YouTube videos, read RSS feeds, check stocks, listen to Sirius music, view flickr photos, use as a calendar or a picture frame, and much more. The system is powered by an Intel Atom processor.