Today at IDF Intel's Dr. Genevieve Bell outlined the company's global vision for mobility. He illustrated ideas through various demonstrations of current Intel and third-party research including smart clothing, low-power silicon, and context-aware technologies.
A "smart clothing" demonstration from Berlin's Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration illustrated how shrinking technology will one day disappear into the objects and spaces people interact with. A bicyclist sporting a jacket with a stretchable circuitry board woven into fabric demonstrated clothing could flash bright red lights when a rider is braking.
This example represented each of the four themes of future mobile technology: to be truly personal, to unburden humans, to help them stay in the moment and to help them realize their better selves.
"The cyclist can enjoy the personal experience of riding and stay in the flow of the moment without worrying about controlling the jacket's functionality. The jacket also augments his body making him more visible and allowing him to safely pursue riding at all hours of the day or night," Bell said.
Bell also discussed how the mobile future will require power consumption orders of magnitude lower than is available today. As devices begin to understand people better, this will require constant sensing at low power. Mike Bell, vice president of Intel's New Devices Group, joined Dr. Bell for a demonstration of an experimental microprocessor powered by a battery made from a glass of wine. The device was able to sense, communicate and control the motion of a 3-D flower rendered on another computer.
"Low power is essential for the future of wearable devices and sensors in smart spaces, where frequent charging or power cables would be burdensome or even impossible," said Mike Bell. "Only then can technology be truly personal and embedded into the places and spaces we inhabit and move through."
Middleware that helps devices understand the context in which their users are operating is another important ingredient for developers creating applications and services that offer personalized mobile experiences. In a demonstration of context awareness technology, a smartphone was able to detect when two individuals were in the vicinity of each other by continuously monitoring voices heard through their microphones. The information was used to create recommendations of nearby services such restaurant options - recommendations which could be tailored to the pair or to groups of individuals. For example, different choices might be suggested for a person who was near friends, rather than his or her children or co-workers.
In another demonstration, Dr. Bell showed how context-awareness might help to balance security and personal convenience. As a smartphone monitored a person's walking patterns, it could recognize the person, and, based on this, open access to certain functions of the phone. Dr. Bell noted that this approach to security - when safely under the control of its rightful owner - is an interesting future security model for mobile devices.
Such technologies are actually years away from practical implementation. These projects are running at Intel's "New Devices" group, which is investigating business opportunities in the emerging markets of the "Internet of things" and wearable devices.
In the conclusion of Dr. Bell's presentation, Peter Biddle, the general manager of Intel Cloud Services, demonstrated a research concept for a cloud service with a dashboard to help people understand how secure their personal data is across all their devices and social networks.