At the Intel
Labs’ annual Research at Intel media event today, Intel Corporation
Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner announced a new research
division, called Interaction and Experience Research (IXR), that is
focused on defining new user experiences and new computing platforms.
The innovations coming out of the labs are expected to help re-imagine
how we will all experience computing in the future.
Enabled by Moore’s Law and the performance advancements now available
across a continuum of computing devices including the traditional PC,
the company’s engagement and experience with technology, according to
Rattner, will become much more personal and social through individual
user contexts informed by sensors, augmented by cloud intelligence, and
driven by more natural interfaces such as touch, gesture and voice.
"Better technology isn’t enough these days," said Rattner. "What the
individual values today is a deeply personal, information experience.
When I look ahead, this is the biggest change in computing I see coming.
At Intel, we’ve been building up our capabilities in the user
experience and interaction areas for over a decade. We’ve recently
assembled an outstanding team of researchers consisting of both user
interface technologists and social scientists to create the next
generation of user experiences. We’ve learned, for example, that the
television experience isn’t the same thing as the Web experience, even
though more and more TV will be delivered via the Internet. Browsing the
Web at 10 feet is an experience few people relish, but television
experienced via the Internet is a huge step beyond broadcast."
Rattner said the new division will be led by Intel Fellow Genevieve
Bell, who has been one of the leading user-centered design advocates at
Intel for more than a decade.
"Intel now touches more things in people’s lives than just the PC,"
said Bell. "Intel chips and the Internet are now in televisions,
set-tops, handhelds, automobiles, signage and more. IXR will build on 15
years of research into the ways in which people use, re-use and resist
new information and communication technologies. Social science, design
and human-computer interaction researchers will continue that mission –
asking questions about what people will value, what will fit into their
lives and what they love about the things they already have. These
insights will be married with a strong focus on technological research
into the next generation of user interfaces, user interactions and
changes in media content and consumption patterns."
Intel Labs already has a strong focus on the next generation of user
experience technologies. Current work around context and location has
yielded a range of insights and technological possibilities. For
example, the idea that devices will understand their surroundings,
communicate with each other and change behavior or take actions based on
the user’s environment. One particular project on display at the event,
coined SENS, represents a new wave of social networking that provides
the ability to monitor real-time activities and display these activities
live and direct to networked friends and family. The research shows how
context awareness from sensors onboard a device can translate into
completely new user experiences such as "Shadow Avatar" and "Socially
Augmented Reality" that build on new trends in sharing of presence and
Researchers also demonstrated an experimental, low-cost energy
sensor, which could help change the way consumers manage personal energy
consumption at home. When coupled with a home information display, it
would monitor usage, recommend solutions for more efficiency and reward
success. The sensor needs only to be plugged into the house wiring to
instantaneously measure and wirelessly report the power consumption of
each electrical load in the home, providing data to analyze energy usage
of devices and appliances throughout. This technology forms the heart
of a personal energy management system that could lead to valuable
changes in behavior and save staggering amounts of energy.
Other technology shown at the event changes a user’s engagement with
technology. For example, research was shown that use projection and 3-D
cameras to light up nearby surfaces displaying buttons, windows, images
and movies onto work surfaces, tabletops or other flat spaces. The video
and vision system is able to recognize hand gestures and objects,
turning everyday surfaces such as a kitchen counter, coffee table or
classroom desk into an interactive portal to the device and the
Internet. Also demonstrated was a more futuristic example, a computer
that could read a user’s thoughts, replacing the need for typing