Intel's smallest computer to power wearable devices
Intel's new Edison computer for wearable devices is the size of an SD card
IDG News Service - Intel hopes a new mini-computer the size of an SD card will drive growth for it in the wearables market.
Edison is Intel's smallest computer and is intended for use in small, flexible electronics that can be worn around the body. The computer has Intel's extremely low-power Quark processor, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity to communicate with other devices.
Intel wants to put Edison in wearable products beyond the regular realm of smartwatches, smart glasses and health monitors expected to swamp the International CES trade show being held this week in Las Vegas.
Wearable technology isn't just about having a camera on your hand; it needs to be natural and chips need to be invisible, said Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel, in an interview.
Intel will demonstrate the chip in baby garments that are part of Rest Devices' Mimo Baby product line. Edison will be able to track an infant's heart rate, temperature, activity level and body position. The chip can do all calculations locally, and transfer data wirelessly to other connected devices like smartphones. Edison will also be demonstrated in Rest Devices' smart bottle warmer, which will be able to measure liquid consumption by a baby.
Putting the Edison chip in the Rest Devices' products was painless, and as simple as swapping out chips, Bell said.
"We're trying to show how this technology enables products that would have been difficult to produce in the past," Bell said.
Edison is based on the x86 architecture and will be made using the latest 22-nanometer process. It runs a version of Linux and is fully "synthesizable," Bell said, indicating that the chip can be easily reprogrammed to adapt to different types of wearable use.
Intel's ability to develop power-efficient chips has often come under question, but Bell said that Edison has levers to turn functions on and off to save power
Intel's ability to develop power-efficient processors should not be doubted, he said, pointing to a demonstration of a single glass of wine powering a chip at last year's Intel Developer Forum. The same group behind that demonstration has developed Edison, Bell said.
Edison is different from its larger $70 Galileo open-source computer, which is targeted at enthusiasts making computing devices ranging from robots and health monitors to home media centers and PCs. Galileo has a 32-bit Quark SoC X1000 CPU, which runs at a clock speed of 400MHz, and also supports general computing interfaces like PCI-Express, Ethernet and USB 2.0. Galileo also supports the Arduino development environment, which is widely used in the maker community.
Edison has low-power DDR2 memory, minimal interface support, and does not support Arduino out of the box. But an expansion card will bring support for the development environment, Bell said.
The chip will be made available to the do-it-yourself and maker community around the summer, which would be around June or July. Intel did not share the price of the product.
Intel is also developing chips that are smaller and more power-efficient than Edison, and Bell did not discount the possibility of flexible chips for wearable devices in the future.
"I think we have the technology we need to provide mind-blowing stuff," Bell said.
- Automakers show off in-vehicle Wi-Fi, new smartphone interfaces
- How to build the perfect smartwatch
- The fuss over Samsung's Magazine UX is all about fragmentation
- As wearable devices hit the market, apps are sure to follow
- Sweet! Your next Hershey's Kiss may be 3D printed
- Three big trends converge at CES
- Intel to scrap McAfee name, give away mobile security tools
- At CES, tablets get bigger screens, dual OSes and even car access
- This robotic camera can take the ultimate video selfie
- Innovation in wearable tech could come from do-it-yourselfers
- SANS: Next-Generation Datacenters = Next-Generation Security This whitepaper takes a look at some new technology that may allow security teams to implement more flexible and capable protection models in...
- SANS: Protecting Virtual Endpoints with McAfee Server Security Suite Essentials SANS review of McAfees Server Security Suite Essentials that address some of the emerging challenges of securing virtual platforms and cloud environments.
- Safeguarding the Next-Generation Data Center Use of virtual and cloud servers has exploded. Unfortunately, security often lags behind. McAfee recommends looking at innovative solutions in order to erect...
- Aberdeen: Securing the Evolving Datacenter This report highlights ways security technologies and services are evolving to provide the visibility and control needed to deploy workloads flexibly in the...
- Is SQL Server AlwaysOn really as powerful? Tips and Tricks from the field With the introduction of AlwaysOn, Windows Clustering Services is now more critical than ever.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center... All Personal Technology White Papers | Webcasts