At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2015 it's all go this year: we've seen automated robot butlers, Fossil unveiling a glimpse of its forthcoming fashion smart wearables, Razer jumping on board Intel's RealSense technology in its new Twitch-friendly camera, and witnessed Optane SSD that's so fast it's touching on RAM speeds. Here are some of the best trinkets from IDF 2015.
Optane SSD 3D XPoint memory
Get ready to geek out: Optane SSD storage is on its way and it's super-fast; the 3D XPoint memory technology is around seven times faster than existing high-speed SSD and constructed entirely differently to NAND flash memory which was introduced some 25 years ago.
So why is this important? It has implication for all kinds of applications, from video editing to high-end gaming. As Chris Roberts, well-known games developer of Star Citizen, quipped at the IDF gaming mega-session that with games becoming so demanding having Optane will effectively eradicate loading times in gaming.
But Optane won't be out until 2016 and right now we have no idea how much it will cost. Our thinking is it won't be cheap by any means. But it's still exciting.
Fossil's fashion wearables
It's not all deep-dive geekdom, though, with Intel and Fossil Group's partnership revealing the first glimpse of the fashion company's wearables.
There's a Fossil smartwatch running Android Wear (which looks suspiciously like the Moto 360), a second smart watch and, last up, a smart bracelet device.
Information is scarce, but there's not too long to wait: the products will be available from October.
Robot butlers: Savioke Relay the future bell boy
We've seen Intel RealSense technology show off in a number of devices. And if you're wondering what the heck that is then it's the dual camera system that can differentiate the captured data to detect depth, even calculate accurate measurements in real-time.
That's important for Savioke's Relay, a RealSense robot butler, designed with the hotel industry in mind. This automated chap can pick up a task, then guide itself to the relevant room.
But rather than running on rails, RealSense allows Relay to detect and respond to obstacles in real-time, so no bumping into one another in the corridor. Relay even has a face-like display on its screen, alongside a a built-in container to hold items. We could imagine an army of these in a funky Japanese hotel in the near future.
Intel RealSense smartphone: putting Project Tango into practice
Intel's 6-inch smartphone prototype combines RealSense and Google's Project Tango cameras and systems, making it the first smartphone capable of detecting depth and distance to generate on-screen augmented reality experiences relative to the world around you.
In addition to the dual-lens RealSense camera setup is a fish-eye lens used to detect a 180-degree world around you. Paired with on-board sensors, Google's Project Tango can detect and pinpoint objects in real-time relative to your position, creating 3D augmented reality environments.
So whether you want to build and navigate virtual models, map real objects in real-time, or even attach the phone to a virtual gun attachment and use it like a real-world 360-degree shooter, it's all possible.
Razer RealSense camera
Razer is well known in gaming for its PCs, laptops and peripherals. Now, with the power of Intel RealSense, its created the Razer RealSense Camera, which uses the depth-sensing technology to auto remove backgrounds. No need for green screen, no need for pricey kit to get a real-time cutout overlay within your broadcasts.
Its single-hinge foot moves smoothly yet holds rigid, allowing for easy positioning, while the cylindrical camera element can be easily rotated for a precise recording position. The demo we saw worked well at background removal in a real-time environment, even with people walking behind the frame.
Cortana Wake-On-Voice: Always listening
Windows 10's built-in assistant is the go-to voice-controlled interface in Microsoft's operating system. And Cortana is just about to get a whole lot smarter thanks to Wake-On-Voice, which allows always-on listening, even when the operating system in sleep mode.
Wake-On-Voice works by using an integrated audio DSP, so a quick “Hey Cortana” and Windows 10 will fire-up whatever its state. Kind cool, kinda creepy.
BMX trick-tracking with Intel Curie inside
Nope, Intel isn't just showing off pro BMX riders because it "looks cool". By implementing Intel Curie - the button-sized six-axis gyro, accelerometer and Bluetooth radio module - into BMX handlebars and seat posts, the company wants to change the face of pro competition.
Using the modules, coupled with some savvy programming and software, Intel has developed a trick-tracking database that shows off riders' tricks as they happen, complete with spin, airtime, height and all the details to know whether one competitor has pulled off a trick better than another.
We think it'd be cool to have this kind of display on hand at pro competitions, to add an extra layer of detail for spectators, and help out newbies unfamiliar with the ins and outs of tricks. However, for now, it's in the early stages of development and needs sponsor/manufacturer support for it to really kick off. Here's hoping.