Print 30 comment(s) - last by Yossarian22.. on Aug 26 at 4:17 AM

Intel research projects could lead to smarter robots and compound semiconductors

Intel is generally thought of as a CPU company, though it produces a large number chipsets and has many other projects in the works. Some of the projects that Intel was showing off recently are a bit of a departure from traditional pursuits at Intel.

Intel's Jason Rattner gave the keynote at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2008 and shed some light on projects Intel researchers are working on. Rattner said that Intel's research labs are attempting to make significant changes in the human-machine interface.

One example of how Intel is looking at changing the human-computer interface is with computer systems that can be physically altered by the user depending on how the user needs the device to function.

Intel researchers are looking at methods to make tiny micro-robots -- called catoms -- that could be built into materials able to change shape at the will of the user. Using catoms Intel reports that the case, keyboard, and display of a computer would be able to change from an earpiece when used as a phone, to a large and flat screen and keyboard for web surfing.

Intel says the first step in the development of catoms has been made. Intel researchers developed a new technique for fabricating sphere of silicon using the same photolithography techniques that are being used today to build microprocessors. The catoms would be less than a millimeter across and would combine computational and mechanical components. The silicon spheres are the first basic building blocks needed for constructing catoms.

Rattner and Intel's Dr. Michael Garner -- manager of Intel's Emerging Materials Roadmap -- together spoke about research at Intel into new silicon technology that would take today's traditional planar transistors and replace them with 3D transistors to allow for the creation of compound semiconductors.

Rattner also talked about research being conducted at Intel that would bring innovation into the world of robotics and help move robots from the factory floor into our homes. Rattner says that before robots can become personal, they need to be cognizant of their surroundings and be able to manipulate objects in a dynamic physical world.

Intel had two prototype robots on hand at IDF 2008. One of the prototype robots was a hand that uses electric field pre-touch. Electric field pre-touch is a method of sensing objects -- used by some fish -- that allows the robot hand to feel an object before it touches them. The second prototype shown was an autonomous mobile manipulation robot that is able to recognize faces and execute commands that are generic -- such as clean up this mess.

Another of the major displays shown during the keynote at IDF 2008 was the wireless power concept -- based on principals proposed by MIT physicists -- called Wireless Resonant Energy Link (WREL). DailyTech reported on the WREL demonstration earlier today. The technology is basically the work of Tesla and could power a 60W light bulb without wires from three feet away.

Ultimately, Intel hopes to build this technology into its chipsets and allow computer users to cut the final cord tying computers down -- the power cable. In the future Intel envisions a notebook that is recharged by simply stepping into a room.

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By poundsmack on 8/22/2008 4:02:12 PM , Rating: 5
...we have the technology.

but seriously, intel is changing the world these last 2 years. Keep up the good work Intel.

In other news; Intel has partnered with CyberDyne to produce a new super computer powered by upcomming Itanium processors. The super computer will be dubbed SkyNet. More details to follow...

RE: cool
By CloudFire on 8/22/2008 6:26:54 PM , Rating: 1
lol +1

funny to hear a Terminator 3 reference, i just watched that movie 2 days ago :) great movie.

RE: cool
By PCXLFan on 8/24/2008 3:18:30 AM , Rating: 3
Cyberdyne is a real company that aims at creating cyborgs via cybernetic exoskeletons. No joke.

video demonstration of the Hal 5 cybernetic exoskeleton suit by Cyberdyne.

RE: cool
By sleepeeg3 on 8/25/2008 10:50:45 AM , Rating: 3
Um... Cyberdyne was around with the first movie.

RE: cool
By Omega215D on 8/23/2008 1:32:58 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently the code name for this project was dubbed "The Turk" and leading project manager is some guy named Goode...

RE: cool
By Samus on 8/23/2008 5:53:07 AM , Rating: 2
They STILL haven't made a computer that can beat a human at chess so I don't see it...

RE: cool
By DeepBlue1975 on 8/23/2008 12:28:10 PM , Rating: 2
IBM's DeepBlue did... Quite some years ago.

RE: cool
By Omega215D on 8/23/2008 5:58:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing you don't catch the Sarah Conner Chronicles.

RE: cool
By glitchc on 8/24/2008 6:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
Can't blame him. It's a crappy show.

RE: cool
By AlexWade on 8/23/2008 10:21:59 PM , Rating: 3
I'm still waiting for my bending robot. I've already picked out a name. Bender Bending Rodriguez.

RE: cool
By sleepeeg3 on 8/25/2008 10:47:47 AM , Rating: 2
That's silly. Itanium came out years ago.

What is it with human vs. robots comparisson?
By micha90210 on 8/22/2008 6:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
Does the gap narrows? What gap is being talked about?

For starters, humans are self aware. Meaning they are aware they are aware. Can robots ever be?

Does the gap narrow in quering databases perfomance, or does it narrow in performing mathematical calculations? does it narrow in detecting and analysing light/sound/touch?

The comparisson just seems senseless to me.

By cmontyburns on 8/22/2008 7:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
i'll make two clones of me. one i'll send to work, with the efficiency and accuracy of an android, so i can stay home and still rake in some paycheck. the other i'll keep home to do the man's chores in the house. girlfriend will be very pleased.

i go home drunk one night showing my college buddy (read: drinking buddy) how well " i " keep up with everything. buddy asks, "is that " you " on top of your girlfriend?"

oh, krudd... (braaaaappp)

RE: What is it with human vs. robots comparisson?
By feraltoad on 8/23/2008 1:12:42 AM , Rating: 3
She touched my peppy, Steve.

RE: What is it with human vs. robots comparisson?
By mles1551 on 8/23/2008 1:19:05 AM , Rating: 3
Steve we're gonna eat a dolphin!

By JimmyC on 8/26/2008 12:24:06 AM , Rating: 2
Not much chance of that Rick.

Something I've always wondered
By ShaolinSoccer on 8/22/2008 8:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
Can computers ever have a conscious? We humans have one due to cells in our brains (and maybe body?). Some humans have multiple consciousness's (schizophrenia?). When you think deeply about what brings about a conscious, you start to realise that it may be possible without something bioligical. If you can take a bunch of nerve cells and create a conscious, then there's the possibility that the same thing can happen from a totally different process. It wouldn't surprise me if consciousness can spring up from anything. And I do mean anything. It may not be a logical conscious in the way we define logic but it's a conscious nevertheless. Anyways, I'm not looking to be flamed. I just thought it's worth talking about because if it's true, it will be one of the biggest discoveries in the entire universe, by mankind. Computers communicate in almost the same way as cells in our bodies do. And the more complicated computers get, the more they start to resemble the complication of our cells. Imagine turning on a pc and it becomes "alive", knowing it exists. It can't put much thought into it because it doesn't possess the instincts and thought proccesses like we do. Does anyone else here think this is possible? If not with computers, maybe with other things? The universe is big and there is a lot going on out there.

RE: Something I've always wondered
By InsaneGain on 8/25/2008 3:11:49 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are correct, and a consciousness does not necessarily need to be biologically based. It is the network created by the neurons that creates a consciousness, not the neurons themselves. I believe that if computer software could simulate the neurons and connections of a human brain, then a consciousness every bit as aware and intelligent as a human's would then exist. So I would think that deleting the simulation could be considered killing a sentient being.

RE: Something I've always wondered
By phazers on 8/25/2008 4:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
a consciousness does not necessarily need to be biologically based. It is the network created by the neurons that creates a consciousness, not the neurons themselves.

I think "consciousness" has more to do with the brain being a good multitasker coupled with imagination. For example right now I'm sitting here typing this, but am aware of the conversation down the hall, the clock on the wall showing it's nearly quittin' time :), that burger from lunch sitting like a lump in my stomach, the fact that I now should clean ketchup off my keyboard, etc. etc. Plus I'm able to visualize myself sitting here and what I'll be doing when I get home, etc etc. All this added together makes me "aware" of myself in the past, present and future, and my imagination draws the lines between these "dots" or images in time to give me a sense of continuity and persistence of presence - aka "consciousness".

Just my 20 centavos..

By Yossarian22 on 8/26/2008 4:17:55 AM , Rating: 2
Consciousness is a rather arbitrary term, as it has a variety of philosophical connotations that accompany it. That said, the concept of inorganic consciousness is extremely interesting.
Why would deleting the program be equivalent to killing? The hardware is still there, so it would be more along the lines of brain-dead. Conversely, it is possible for the program to still exist even if you destroy the hardware. Death is essentially meaningless when applied to the inorganic.

By KaiserCSS on 8/22/2008 4:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
I am very impressed. Although consumers may not be able to purchase this kind of technology for quite some time, the fact that Intel is seriously researching the means to make dreams a reality is something to commend. To be completely honest, this news has brightened my day considerably.

Keep up the good work, Intel. And Shane, thank you for another wonderful article.

P.S. I can't wait to have a PersoCom.

RE: Amazing
By Smartless on 8/22/2008 4:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm impressed with the multitude of android shows that Chobits was brought up. I guess its better than a boomer.

RE: Amazing
By LordanSS on 8/24/2008 7:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'll take a Chi. Two, please.

There isn't far to go...
By Arbie on 8/22/2008 4:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
Those concerned with the gap between humans and robots can rest easy: it's decreasing naturally by the steady process of humans getting dumber. I'm like sure this is like evident to like everyone.

I'm reminded, somehow, of a very funny cartoon from the late 1970s: two researchers in an Artificial Intelligence lab are talking. One says "We're getting there... the computer still makes mistakes, but now at least it blames the other computer".

RE: There isn't far to go...
By chiadog on 8/25/2008 6:47:22 AM , Rating: 2
That reminded me of Idiocracy... hilariously bad movie :p

My first thought...
By Klober on 8/22/2008 7:52:33 PM , Rating: 2

Intel will be the doom of us yet!

RE: My first thought...
By JediJeb on 8/25/2008 1:28:44 PM , Rating: 2
Replicators was exactly what I was thinking too.

By Dean364 on 8/22/2008 5:05:19 PM , Rating: 3
Have you seen the movie Idiocracy? Humans getting dumber. It's a funny movie, if you're able to find the humor in it.

Perfect caption
By Fnoob on 8/23/2008 7:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
The Nemesis reference is ideal. Odd that I just rewatched it earlier today. Didn't pay too much attention to the philosophical dilemmas the first time around. Good stuff.

This world is all fuxked up
By chick0n on 8/25/2008 12:59:47 AM , Rating: 1
We Humans always think that we're under control.

Watch one day we will fuxk ourselves up. Big time. then the world will be something like T2. without the time machine part cuz thats just not possible (cuz to be able to time travel you will need the speed of light)

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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