Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Intel has announced several uses for its button-sized chipset, Curie, which it introduced at CES 2015.
At CES 2016, Intel demonstrated how the chip could be attached to a sports device or athlete's body to transmit live performance data. Curie incorporates a central processing unit, Bluetooth radio, motion sensors and a small battery into a module the size of a pinkie thumbnail. The component is expected to become commercially available in the first quarter of 2016 for less than $10.
The company also showcased several Curie-powered devices, including a pair of speech-enabled Oakley sunglasses that can coach athletes as they train by talking into their ear. Intel sees a future where Curie is used to enhance the experience of all sports, and has partnered with ESPN to sponsor the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado later in January to demonstrate its vision.
Data transmitted through Curie at the event will be showcased on live TV broadcasts of the snowboard competitions. Chipsets mounted onto the boards of competing athletes will update viewers with live data about speed, jump heights and distance, and tally the spins the snowboarders take.
Intel remains a leader in the tech industry, and dominates the PC and server markets. But the company — which rose to prominence by providing chips for personal computers — has been exploring ways to deal with a shrinking market in a post-PC era. The launch of Curie sees Intel adapting to the current technology landscape of ultramobility, in which computing power and connectivity are embedded in ever-smaller goods including clothing and jewellery.
The company missed opportunities in the smartphone market during the decade, but is now exploring ways to avoid the same pattern in a new generation of connected products. Intel aims to be inside the Internet of things.