Nokia, Intel and the University of Oulu have opened the newest brand of Intel Labs Europe, which will be dedicated to researching compelling new mobile user experiences-particularly in 3-D.
A new partnership between Intel and Nokia is conjuring up images of "Star Wars"-type technology.
Always wished that your mobile phone could project a 3-D hologram of
the person you're speaking with? The high-tech messaging scenario made
famous by Princess Leia could be an area of research at the Intel and
Nokia Joint Innovation Center, the pair suggested in their announcement
of the facility's official opening Aug. 24.
The newest member of Intel Labs Europe, the center, created in
conjunction with Finland's University of Oulu, will employ about two
dozen research and development professionals and focus on creating
compelling mobile user experiences that leverage the capabilities of
mobile devices - particularly those pertaining to 3-D.
In February, Nokia and Intel together introduced the open-source mobile operating platform MeeGo.
In a statement on the research center, the pair described MeeGo as
being just the right flexible platform for the development of 3-D
experiences on mobile devices.
Justin Rattner, Intel's CTO and director of Intel Labs, said in an
Aug. 24 statement that the University of Oulu's "focus on future
telecommunications solutions, as well as electronics and photonics,
made it the perfect location for the Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation
Nokia CTO Rich Green said the new joint laboratory "draws on the
Oulu research community's 3-D interface expertise, and over time will
lay down some important foundations for future mobile experiences."
During an Aug. 23 call with media and analysts, executives from the
two companies - self-described as the No. 1 semiconductor
company and the No. 1 handset company - as well as the Center for
Internet Excellence at the university, said a confluence of events are
driving the project. These include increasing user experiences and
interactions to fuel innovation; the proliferation of high-bandwidth
Internet around the world; and mobile computing devices with
capabilities that were inconceivable just three or four years ago.
The project is scheduled to run for three years, and possible
outcomes could include not only advances in gaming, but location-based
services and enterprise applications, for example, for
training purposes. It's also hoped that the trend of consumers becoming
"prosumers," and interacting more directly with each other, could be
encouraged. And again, the three have committed that any findings or
technologies that develop as a result of the research will remain open
"Our role at Intel, continuously, is to develop technologies that
compute ever faster, communicate ever faster and consume less and less
power," Intel's director of Intel Labs Europe, Martin Curley, said
during the call. "When we put these three opportunities together and
work with Nokia, which has a very exciting range of products coming out
and a very exciting vision of the future, this creates a recipe, or an
environment, for I think some very compelling innovations."
When pressed as to whether a Star Wars-style hologram call was truly
on the agenda, Mika Set???l???, Nokia's director of strategy, alliances and
partnerships, was forced to offer, "It was given as a visual guiding
example of a very different user experience."
Pressed again, Set???l??? continued, saying that "sometimes the
movies offer a very good way of imagining the future. The way the 3-D
holograms were put forward almost 30 years ago by Lucas Films is an
extraordinary, visionary way of creating a communications interface.
Are we able to repeat that or go that far? We definitely are giving it
"That's the challenge," Intel's Curley added.