Today was, for Intel, a day to celebrate its new Skylake 6th Gen Core processor family. However, the real star of its Wednesday morning IFA press conference was the future. The company showed off a variety of forward-leaning technologies, many of which rely on features found in its new RealSense R-200 3D and infrared camera system (the existing forward-facing cameras are called F-200), which is designed to sit on the backs of smartphones, laptops, tablets and even drones.
The company showed off a drone head (see above) featuring a configuration of six RealSense cameras, all connected to a Core i7 computer. An accompanying video showed the gear atop a flying drone. The cameras will not only provide a 360 degree view of the surroundings, but give full 3D and depth information, as well. No word on when this will arrive on real drones.
Intel’s RealSense has had a fairly slow rollout, but numerous manufacturers are expected to unveil systems featuring the 3D vision technology here at IFA 2015, and those systems could hit stores in the coming months.
RealSense will, Intel noted, eventually have a big impact on gaming. During the press conference, they showed off a RealSense-equipped smartphone attached to a toy gun. It was scanning the room in real time and incorporating the room dimensions into the game. As a result, the player could move about the room while looking at the screen and a computer-generated first-person shooter game, but also be aware of the walls around him, which had, remarkably, become part of the game.
In another demo, Intel used the RealSense camera to scan in a face and then map it onto a player inside the game. They said that it could even be used to scan objects and insert them into games such as Minecraft.
Intel also demonstrated a collection of upcoming wireless technologies, all of which will be powered by Intel 6th Gen Core (Skylake) — ones like WiGig wireless docking stations, WiDi that can wirelessly drive displays and others that eliminate the need for charging cables.
In one demonstration, Intel showed how a specially equipped LED motherboard would light up when placed on a table with magnetic resonance wireless charging technology underneath. It can transmit 20 watts of power through up to 50 mm of wood. The obvious benefit would be that you could retrofit existing furniture. They were also able to charge multiple devices and move them about the table without losing the charge connection. Intel executives quickly held up a new Acer 8-inch tablet which will include the wireless charging technology.
Intel also started delivering on its promise of new PC form factors based on its 6th Generation Intel Core processors. We got our first look at the updated Intel Compute Stick, which looks a lot like the old one, a new Miix Laptop from Lenovo, and an intriguing, and, as-of-yet unannounced HP convertible that appeared super sleek and super thin. Like many of the other systems Intel demonstrated, this one used the do-it-all USB-C port.
If there was another star of Intel’s event it was Windows 10. Microsoft’s new operating system is, said Intel, a once-per-decade collaboration and leap ahead in technology. They pointed to Windows 10 Hello biometric login technology, which relies on RealSense cameras and even recreated the Windows Hello twins test conducted by an Australian news agency earlier this summer (it worked).
What Intel never mentioned, though, was Apple’s OS X El Capitan, even though all Macs run on Intel processors and upcoming MacBooks should feature the newly stratified Core M line (also part of Skylake).