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Intel strives toward tiny chips to run wearable computers

Sharon Gaudin | Oct. 23, 2012
Intel evangelist Manny Vara, at the company's European Research and Innovation Conference in Barcelona, said wearable computers may be two to five years away.

Last summer, Google made a splash with its Google Glass computerized eyeglasses, at its Google I/O developers conference. The Android-powered eyeglasses are equipped with a processor, memory, camera, GPS sensors and a display screen.

According to industry analysts, in the not-so-distant future, computers will be worn, whether incorporated into glasses, or in a piece of jewelry, such as a bracelet or pendant.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said trying to get in on the wearable computer market before it takes off is a smart move for Intel.

The company has struggled in recent months as the PC market, where Intel has much of its business, has been weakened by a sluggish economy and the burgeoning tablet market. Getting in on a new wave of technology would be a step in the right direction, Kerravala said.

"PCs have virtually no growth right now," Kerravala said. "The only way Intel can grow is to find other uses for its chips... Think of all that is possible here."

Vara said wearable computers that record a user's activities or conversation would need privacy and security features that protect both the user and the people he encounters.

For instance, users could carry a small jamming device so when they approach someone who might be able to record them with a wearable computer, the device would run interference.

"I think one of the things we really need to do is be very conscientious about the fact that people like their privacy," Vara said. "People would like this and they'd be eager to use it, but some people aren't going to want to be videotaped... That's a really important thing to figure out before letting loose some of these things in the market."

 

 

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