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Intel showcases future projects

Published 13/05/2015

The RealSense drone is fitted with six depth-aware cameras that can sense distance and objects
The RealSense drone is fitted with six depth-aware cameras that can sense distance and objects
A person using a 3DMe app, which takes 3D images and turns the user into an animated character

The future of technology will see computers reading your emotions, a smart home that always knows where you are, and drones with spatial awareness.

That is the view of technology giant Intel, which has held its annual Future Showcase, where the firm gives a glimpse into current and future projects it is working on across a range of fields.

Among the gadgets on show was a new type of drone that contains depth-sensitive cameras, meaning it is able to recognise how far it is from an obstacle, and then move to avoid it autonomously.

The same cameras, which form part of the Intel's RealSense division, are also now be placed into other devices including laptops and tablets, meaning in the future it will be possible to accurately 3D scan items from a mobile device.

At the show, Intel demonstrated this by scanning attendees and creating 3D printouts of them as avatars and busts cut into glass paperweights.

Intel's Markus Weingartner said: "The Intel Future Showcase is basically trying to show you the new Intel. We reinvented ourselves not so long ago - you've traditionally known Intel for PCs basically.

"Now we're doing tablets, we're doing phones and we're doing wearables. We're doing internet of things too, so you find Intel in a whole lot of devices that are outside of the PC and while you walk through the Showcase you will basically experience some of these new areas."

There was still room for innovation in PCs however, as Intel showed off their Compute Stick - a USB-sized device that is a fully functioning computer, and can be plugged into any HDMI port, and used anywhere a full desktop PC.

The internet of things was also covered, with the computer firm demonstrating a technology it calls Home Gateway. This uses a hub, plugged into a home wifi router that then acts a central control point for all the devices on that network, from smart lights and speakers to smartphones and tablets.

A companion app puts control of them in one place, and Intel says the system can track a user's position in the house, and have music, light and other media follow you automatically as you move from room to room, without needing prompting.

"We think that while the traditional business will continue to exist of course, the next big thing will be wearables definitely, and the internet of things," said Mr Weingartner.

"Once all things communicate with each other this will demand huge resources on the cloud side as well as on the device side because they all need to become intelligent and become equip with sensors and computing power."

Other major firms such as Apple and Samsung are also working on internet of things projects, with Samsung saying they aim to make all their devices and appliances smart by 2020, while Apple has an app kit for developers called HomeKit, which is specifically aimed at applications for use in the smart home.

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