Intel's chief technology officer, Justin Rattner, announced the formation of the new lab, dubbed Interaction and Experience Research, at the company's annual Research Day in Mountain View, Calif. Rattner said the new lab is focused on envisioning new user experiences and computing platforms.
"Better technology isn't enough these days," said Rattner. "What the individual values today is a deeply personal information experience."
Intel Fellow Genevieve Bell will lead the new research division.
"Intel now touches more things in people's lives than just the PC," Bell said. "Intel chips and the Internet are now in televisions, set tops, handhelds, automobiles, signage and more. [The new division] will build on 15 years of research into the ways in which people use, reuse and resist new information and communication technologies. Social science, design and human-computer interaction researchers will continue that mission, asking questions about what people will value, what will fit into their lives and what they love about the things they already have."
Bell said Intel is looking to marry these human insights with the company's computer research to create the next generation of technology. The lab will involve Intel employees working all over the U.S. and in some other countries.
Manny Vara, a technology strategist at Intel, said in an interview with Computerworld that the technology company is putting a strong new emphasis on studying how people use technology now and how they want to be able to use it in the future.
"In 10 to 20 years from now, I think in a lot of cases we probably won't even think of it as computing anymore if we do it right," said Vara. "It'll just become part of what you're doing."
He noted, for instance, that "social networking" is a phrase that gets a lot of attention. In a few years, digitally connecting with people socially and for business will become routine.
"Applications will have social features added to them," said Vara. "I think that any piece of software will have social aspects built in. We're going to make a lot of these consumer tools more useful, and you'll see more and more of them on the business side."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.