At its Developer Forum held last fall, Intel unveiled its ultra-small Quark SoC, one designed for the “Internet-of-things”. In effect, if there can be a use for a small Internet-capable chip inside of a product, Intel wanted to make sure it delivered what was needed. Of course, the chip being small isn’t enough; the entire PC needs to be.
I think it’s safe to say that the size of an SD card is a great start:
Under the hood of Intel’s Edison PC is a 22nm dual-core Quark processor running at 400MHz, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It runs Linux, and has proven to be intriguing enough for Wolfram to get to work on porting its Language and Mathematica toolkits to the platform.
Being the size of an SD card, Edison could be used almost anywhere – even a coffee cup and baby onesie, as Intel CEO Brian Krzanich demoed on-stage during his pre-CES keynote.
In this particular example, Edison could be housed in a plastic toy that’s embedded into a baby’s onesie, and what this PC could do is monitor movement, body temperature, and predict when the baby is about to wake up.
A PC in such an implementation would be of little use if it didn’t pass along information to something, so that’s where the smart coffee cup comes in:
If the baby’s body temperature rises to uncomfortable levels, the graphic presented on this coffee cup could turn into a red frown, whereas if things are a-OK, it could be a green smiley. Other information could be presented as well though, such as movement. Further, Intel also demoed the idea of a bottle-warmer that could detect when the baby is about to wake up, and take it upon itself to heat the milk so that it’s ready by the time you get there.
While Intel has lots of ideas for where Edison could be used, it’s not planning to create the products itself. Instead, it’s reaching out to the public to come up with their own ideas, and developers to take their ideas and turn them into a reality. For this, Intel’s launched its “Make it Wearable” contest – well worth checking out even if you don’t have the ability to take a product to market yourself.
Given its size and what it could enable, I think Edison could be huge. Intel promises that it will ship this coming summer, so it’s going to be interesting to see where and how it’ll be used first.