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Fancy a peak at the technology that’s just around the corner?
This week, chipmaker Intel unveiled prototypes that reflect the type of gadgets we will be using in the near-future.
This ASCTEC drone is able to automatically dodge obstacles and people as it navigates.
The drone has full 360 degree, 3D view of the world around its thanks to the six long-range Intel RealSense cameras that sit on top.
Controlling the drone is as easy as giving it a destination and then letting it find its own way – thanks to its ability to spot and avoid potential collisions.
Intel said such automated navigation will be necessary if retailers are to deliver goods using drones.
The cameras can capture colour video at 60 FPS, as well as recording how far away the objects they film are from the camera. Each camera can capture this depth information at up to 10 feet.
Through the drone's eyes
A snapshot of what the ASCTEC drone sees through its six depth-mapping cameras.
3D body scanning
Ever wanted to create a tiny bust of your head to give to your friends?
The answer may be no, but if you do then you’re in luck. By Christmas this year tablets should be available that will allow you to scan a person so you can print off your own mini-me.
Capturing a scan takes less than a minute. The 3D model could then be printed off at home, or for those without a 3D printer forwarded to an online service to create a more elaborate model. The process could also capture people to allow them to be digitally animated or used as an online/in-game avatar.
The tablet captures the scan using the same long-range RealSense 3D camera used with the ASCTEC drone.
Intel says that Android and Windows tablets, running on both Intel Core and Atom processors, will be released with the long-range RealSense cameras.
And here is the end result, a tiny, etched glass bust based on an earlier 3D scan captured by the tablet.
Become one with the data
One for gadget lovers not afraid to let technology get under their skin, or at least to pipe data through it.
This computer is transmitting data to the bracelet via the wearer’s skin, a process that Intel calls ‘Human Body Communication’.
Intel says the technology could provide an easy way to swap information between machines. For example, the user could highlight an address on a computer, touch the pad to download it to the bracelet, then touch a sat-nav to communicate that destination to the device.
Power without wires
Wires will soon disappear from computing if the tech giants are to be believed.
When it comes to wirelessly charging, Intel is betting on the Rezence technology, which is based on the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) standard and relies on magnetic resonance to juice gadgets.
Rezence chargers can beam up to 20W of power to nearby devices, charge multiple machines at once and transmit through a thick wooden table top, as seen here.
Intel is expecting the first laptops to support wireless charging will be released at the end of this year.
A smarter home
Imagine a home with lights that turn on when you enter the room or music that is automatically piped to wherever you are in the house.
That’s the idea behind a prototype system dreamt up by German start-up Kinexon and Intel for tracking your movements around the home.
The system relies on a central computer, appliance or router to wirelessly track a tag worn by the user at a distance of up to 10 metres.
A smartphone app will allow users to set up the system, for instance to play music in whatever room they’re in, and can be set up to handle multiple tags.
It works with smart devices already on the market, from the Nest thermostat to Philips Hue lightbulbs, and uses a common protocol that should ensure compatibility with future products.
Down the line Intel foresees some more ambitious uses for such a system, which as well as tracking the position of the tags in the home, can also track their height and orientation.
Movement can be tracked fairly precisely, as the tags can report their position up to 100 times per second, although this can be reduced to extend battery life, which Kinexon says can last up to two years.
Your face or mine
Another use for the RealSense camera is to create 3D scans of your face.
Here you can see an application called 3DME, which scans your face and then allows you to superimpose it on different characters.
Set phasers to fun
For instance, here one of the Intel team is recreated as a member of Star Trek crew.
Beyond having an avatar that simply looks like you, how about one that gurns like you too.
FaceShift is a RealSense app that captures your expression and renders it on a 3D character, as seen here.