IDF: Our top 3 Intel research projects
- — 10 September, 2012 22:00
Check out three of our favourite research projects from the Intel Labs showcase at IDF 2012. These are not retail products in the making, but explore future uses of technology which can then be considered in Intel’s planning and development processes.
Display without Boundaries
Doug Carmean, Intel Fellow and research scientist at Intel Labs
Carl Marshall, graphics software architect and research scientist at Intel Labs
After this morning’s Tomorrow Project panel, this is the research project we were most excited to see. Display without Boundaries is intended to turn any surface (including non-flat surfaces, such as a bowl used in the demonstration) into interactive displays.
Perhaps our expectations based on the sci-fi and futurist talk in the panel coloured our expectations. The demonstration we saw, based on a traditional projector and a Microsoft Kinect sensor, was rather anticlimactic.
Users are able to rotate a ‘bowl full’ of photographs by hand gesture, and move individual photographs onto a second interactive display, projected more conventionally onto a wall with the same Kinect-based interface.
Line of Sight Marketing
Rick Roberts, research scientist at Intel Labs
Mathys Walma, research scientist at Intel Labs
This project builds on existing low-density LED signage, such as those designed to display fixed images or low-resolution text only.
The LEDs are switched on and off in a pattern, slow enough that a smartphone camera running at 30 frames per second can detect the changes, but fast enough that human eye cannot (due to the ‘persistence of vision’ effect).
With just 8 LEDs used for transmission (and thus a bandwidth of 8 bits, each LED being either on or off), transmission rate with the technology can reach 100 bytes-per-second. More LEDs means greater bandwidth, limited by the requirement that the smartphone camera reading the sign must be able to resolve each individual LED from normal viewing distance.
The point of all this? Simple LED signs using this technology can encode additional information that users can read via a smartphone app – such as a restaurant sign providing an approximate waiting time.
The researches likened this to a QR code, but without the need to provide such a high-resolution image (and therefore practical on much less expensive LED signage). The system also works from a greater distance than QR codes read by the same smartphone cameras.
Rahul Shah, research scientist at Intel Labs
Part of a trio of projects on context-aware computing, the Hassle-Free Meeting setup uses a novel mechanism to link PCs for ad-hoc meetings.
Technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are used to identify other PCs in the immediate area. Those PCs then sample the audio from their onboard microphones, and compare that wirelessly with other PCs in range.
PCs that can ‘hear’ a similar audio stream are likely to be in the same room or immediate area, and are identified as potential meeting partners. The Hassle-Free meeting software then launches conferencing software, such as Microsoft Linq (used in the demonstration).