At IDF, PCs Take a Back Seat to Drones, VR, AI, Driverless Cars

1 - At IDF, PCs Take a Back Seat to Drones, VR, AI, Driverless Cars
2 - Virtual Reality in the Real World
3 - Project Alloy Takes Center Stage
4 - Microsoft and Intel Put Focus on VR
5 - The Music of Merged Reality
6 - Intel Takes to the Air
7 - Intel Drones On
8 - Intel Also Stays on the Ground
9 - Behind the Wheel of a Self-Driving Car
10 - It's Fun to Play With the FPGA
11 - The Power and Energy of Joule
12 - Joule in Action
13 - Intel Bringing Silicon Photonics to Data Centers
14 - Keeping an Eye on 5G
15 - Many Cores and AI
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At IDF, PCs Take a Back Seat to Drones, VR, AI, Driverless Cars

This year's Intel Developer Forum had a decidedly different flavor to it—with fewer PCs but more drones, cars and other connected devices on display.

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Virtual Reality in the Real World

Krzanich introduced Project Alloy, a push to create an entirely self-contained virtual reality (VR) headset that doesn't need exterior sensors or to be tethered via a wire to a PC. All the compute, graphics, batteries and modules, as well as technologies like RealSense, are contained in the headset.

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Project Alloy Takes Center Stage

Krzanich, left, and Intel's Craig Raymond show the VR headset. It's part of what Krzanich called "merged reality," or the ability to bring physical objects into the virtual world, and vice versa. The demonstration showed Raymond viewing a virtual world through a headset, being able to see his hands and other physical objects, and manipulating the environment using those objects.

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Microsoft and Intel Put Focus on VR

Terry Myerson, right, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, said the software maker will update Windows 10 to enable the company's Windows Holographic software that runs on its HoloLens to also run on the Alloy headsets. In December, the companies will announce a spec for VR headsets like Alloy and Microsoft's HoloLens, and next year, Intel will open-source the Alloy hardware.

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The Music of Merged Reality

Before Krzanich took the stage, musicians—such as this drummer—played music using Intel's VR headset and software, with drums that could be seen and played via the headset but were not physically in front of the musician.

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Intel Takes to the Air

Krzanich continued what has become standard at Intel events by showing off drones that use such Intel products as processors and RealSense 3D camera technology. Here the CEO shows off an Aero Ready to Fly drone, a fully assembled quadcopter on which developers can launch their applications.

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Intel Drones On

Intel's Jeff Lo demonstrates a ready-to-fly drone that uses the company's Aero Compute Board and RealSense technology, which can be used to help the system navigate environments and avoid collisions.

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Intel Also Stays on the Ground

Autonomous cars continue to be a key focus for most chip makers, including Intel, which recently announced a partnership with BMW and Mobileye to get self-driving BMW vehicles on the road by 2021. At IDF, Intel officials said the company is building its own fleet of autonomous cars, and put two test vehicles on display.

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Behind the Wheel of a Self-Driving Car

Software will be crucial to the development and performance of autonomous cars. Here, an IDF attendee tries out a natural human-machine interface (HMI) prototype platform for self-driving cars.

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It's Fun to Play With the FPGA

Intel last year paid $16.7 billion to acquire Altera and its programmable chip technology. At IDF, Krzanich and other officials stressed the importance of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in the fast-growing digital world. Here the CEO shows off an Intel-branded 14-nanometer Stratix 10 FPGA during the inaugural Intel SoC (system-on-a-chip) FPGA Developer Forum, run in conjunction with IDF.

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The Power and Energy of Joule

Intel introduced a chip module called Joule, a tiny board with sensors based on RealSense, that will make it easier for developers to create prototypes of devices that include computer vision capabilities. It complements other such Intel development boards like Edison, Galileo and Curie. Here Krzanich displays a Joule board.

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Joule in Action

At IDF, there were numerous devices on display that use the Joule development board, such as safety glasses and small robots with computer vision. Here, a user looks through a helmet heads-up display by EyeLights powered by Joule.

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Intel Bringing Silicon Photonics to Data Centers

Diane Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, announced that after 16 years of development, the company was ready to bring silicon photonics products to market later this year. The technology will address the demand by cloud service providers for more network bandwidth, better scalability and faster connectivity.

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Keeping an Eye on 5G

Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala, president of Intel's Client and IoT Businesses and Systems Architecture Group, told IDF attendees that a key part of the vendor's IoT strategy is focusing on the development and deployment of 5G, the upcoming next-generation wireless broadband technology that promises to deliver speeds 10 to 100 times faster than average 4G LTE connections today.

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Many Cores and AI

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is fast becoming another highly competitive field for chip makers. At IDF, Intel's Bryant said that next year, the company will introduce "Knights Mill"—a derivative of Intel's current many-core Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" chip that will compete with Nvidia's GPUs in machine learning tasks.

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