A peek inside Intel's research lab

July 4, 2008 9:09:07 PM PDT
A mood-tracker on your cell phone, a device that gives you details on places you're pointing at, is the stuff of science, but not fiction. Inside Intel's research lab they're working on these new tools that will become available soon.

We all have our good days and bad. Researchers at Intel are working on a way to help us with the stress, anger and other issues that can elevate our heart rate. And it could work on a mobile phone.

It tracks your mood. It records when and where your stress level rises, whether at work or home. Then it might suggest a breathing exercise to slow you down. Margaret Morris Ph.D. is an Intel clinical psychologist working on the project.

"You come up with new strategies, even if it's just talking with a spouse about how to divide child care responsibilities or when to eat to avoid getting grumpy from hunger," said Morris.

This is technology Intel believes will improve health care.

"We've gone and studied over 150 hospital and clinics, and every one you go into there is a doctor and nurse saying, 'I came into this business to help patients and now I'm pushing paperwork. How can I use technology to do the paperwork so I can go back to patient care?' So most of them see the things we're doing and are pretty excited about it," said Eric Dishman, an Intel digital health lab director.

How about a handheld device that you can point at landmarks? Then it finds out details of what you're seeing.

"This would be an excellent tool for tourists to be able to pull a device out of their pocket, with regard to where they are, and learn more about that environment," said James Wilson, an Intel engineer.

Intel says all of these new ideas are the result of faster chips able to run innovative software.

"Instead of years waiting for the technology to finally be put to use, we're seeing it in the market 12 to 18 months from introduction, and that's a dramatic change over years past," said Justin Rattner, a Intel chief technology officer.

There's also a big push to make graphics more realistic and useful.

Some of these new technologies won't be available for another four or five years, but it's clear that these handheld devices we have today are going to become indispensible in the future.


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