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Wednesday, 02 January 2013 11:43

Intel spends fortune on perceptual computing

Written by Nick Farrell



Perception is everything

Intel’s Haifa development centre is apparently spending a fortune on developing “Perceptual computing.” The cunning plan involves equipping PCs, laptops, and other Intel-branded and partnered devices to become “context aware.” So instead of waiting for you to enter data and “teach” the device, a perceptual computing-equipped device will use its built in hardware and software to “learn” ways to make your life easier.

Chipzilla is offering developers a million dollars in prizes to come up with perceptual software. Computing Challenge. The entries will be judged based on how perceptual an application is and to do that you will have to make a lot of use of sensors and cameras. The software will be graded on how intuitive and easy to use the app is, how likely users are to want to adopt it, and other factors. The winners will get $20,000 each, with smaller prizes of $5,000 and $1,000. Altogether, the company will be giving away a million dollars in prize money.

Intel has been talking about Perceptual computing since 2010 when CTO Justin Rattner said that he wanted devices that use a variety of “sensory modalities” to determine what you are doing at an instant, from being asleep in your bed to being out for a run with a friend. Software will comb hard sensor information such as where you are and the conditions around you combined with soft sensors such as your calendar, your social network and past preferences, future devices will constantly learn about who you are, how you live, work and play.

The idea is that the as your devices learn about your life, they can begin to anticipate your needs. In my case the software will develop an android which goes around to the neighbour’s house and set it alight the next time they wake me up at 4am, and if it’s any good, it will also shoot them if they try to escape the blaze. (And make it all look like an extended suicide. Ed)

Nick Farrell

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