When we look at innovation within the tech industry, we seldom look at the chip manufacturers themselves. Though, as the designers behind the core elements that make tech work, they do essentially form the backbone for wherever innovation is likely to take place. Intel though appears to be really upping their game as they have announced a couple of ideas that they believe could revolutionise the industry.
Laptops made with fabric
First up, is a new prototype called Twin River which essentially sees Intel building a dual screen laptop into the fabric, that gives an entirely different aesthetic to what you would expect of a computer. The laptops each feature a pair of 12.3-inch, 1920 x 1280 touchscreen displays in polyester, polyamide, and lycra textile combination which includes a quad-core, 15-watt Intel U-series processor. It’s not only remarkable how much processing power they’ve packed into this small frame, but also the fact that they achieve all of this with a fanless chassis as they constructed an incredibly thin vapour chamber cooling solution and paired it with a unique motherboard design where the CPU is aligned diagonally — instead of horizontally or vertically — so it can be closer to the circuits that feed it and thereby generate less heat.
It’s certainly a unique idea that goes against the majority of laptop designs we see today, though the potential of material as laptop covers has been explored before. I think this definitely allows for a more lightweight body which will aid portability, though I would be interested to see if a material case offers better protection than a hard exterior in the case of droppages or other forms of damage.
This was not the only idea that Intel has been sharing though as they continue to play around with the idea of a modular computer with the announcement of the NUC Compute Element. The idea behind this new Intel idea is similar to Rasberry Pis which sees a small minicomputer featuring an Intel CPU, memory, and connectivity that can be used to connect to a variety of devices, including smart TVs, appliances and future laptops, with the idea that as the CPU technology advances people can simply just swap out an older compute module for a new one rather than needing to buy an entirely new device. It’s a nice idea, though one Intel has tried before with Compute Cards. This time Intel is making some changes to the design which it hopes will make it easier to connect to other pieces of hardware.
I like the idea of this, though do fear that as Intel’s core technology is likely to evolve, these devices could become redundant faster than Intel believes they might. I guess time will tell if this new idea is a success for the company.
AI on PC Development Kit
Given the advances in artificial intelligence, it should be unsurprising that the company is partnering with Microsoft and Asus to create a new laptop designed with AI processing in mind.
The laptop (sadly not named Cybernet) is set to feature a 14-inch display, 16GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. It’s powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, Intel integrated graphics, and for the first time, an Intel Movidius Myriad X VPU. Intel indicates that the three different hardware engines will be able to run a diverse range of AI workloads a lot more efficiently than any other laptop.
The laptop comes with Windows 10, Windows ML libraries, Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit, Intel Distribution for Python, and a 30-day trial of Visual Studio 2019 Enterprise. The device also includes getting started guides, code samples, tutorials, sample applications, and Windows skills. It’s set to arrive in Jul of this year. There is no pricing for it just yet though given its components you will probably need to have an entire mortgage just to look at the thing.
It’s great to see these sorts of innovative ideas coming from Intel who will hopefully continue driving innovation through the industry and move the tech industry forward in a variety of ways.
Last Updated: May 29, 2019