During his keynote at the final day of IDF 2010, Justin Rattner described how context awareness is poised to change the nature of how we interact with and rekate to information devices and services they provide.
Context aware computing is different than the simple kinds of sensor-based applications we see today. Through sophisticated inference on a combination of hard sensor data such as where you are and the conditions around you along with soft sensor data such as your calendar, context-aware devices will anticipate your needs, advise you and guide you through your day in a manner more akin to a personal assistant than a traditional computer, Intel's chief technology officer said.
Rattner said that handheld devices could combine already common geographic location technology with data from microphones, cameras, heart and body monitors and even brain scans to offer their owners advice that today only a friend or relative could give.
He showcased the Personal Vacation Assistant, a mobile internet device prototype that uses a variety of context sources such as personal travel preferences, previous activities, current location and calendar information to provide real-time travel recommendations to vacationers.
Intel is also researching how wireless sensors attached to clothing on people's legs can help predict the likehood of a serious fall. This could help elderly people in their daily life, Intel said.
Rattner also demonstrated a television remote control that figures out who is holding it based on how it is held, and then learns the viewer's entertainment preferences.
Intel is also collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University on machine-learning technology aimed at decoding data directly from the human brain. Based on the research, computers could one day have the ability to decode what we're thinking, enabling users to control and direct computers and robots with nothing but thoughts.
"I think you can expect to see features that support context-aware computing starting to appear in Intel products in the not-too-distant future," Rattner said.