Intel Corp.’s display of technology at the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival this week was a futuristic fun fair. Packed with visitors sporting virtual reality headsets and operating drones with their hands, the halls were filled with technology that Intel was eager to put on display to demonstrate its shift from supplier of chips for computers to all-around tech company ready to take on the challenges of a changing environment.
“What we are seeing here are the newest technologies the brain is capable of inventing,” Maxine Fassberg, CEO of Intel Israel, said in a brief interview in the sunny courtyard outside the hall, at the HaTachana site, Tel Aviv’s old railway station, where DLD is being held. “Intel is the connection between these brains that work daily on futuristic developments and Israel’s ecosystem of innovation.”
In April the chief executive officer of Intel Corp., Brian Krzanich, laid out the company’s new strategy of transforming Intel from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices. To make this shift, Intel said it planned to increase investments in its data center, Internet of Things and memory and connectivity businesses, as well as growing its business in gaming and home gateways. Intel also announced it would reduce its global workforce by 11 percent by mid-2017.
And indeed, on display at DLD were technologies that included virtual reality headsets, drones, wireless gaming headsets and sensors, developed both in Israel and at Intel sites globally, which Intel hopes will power its products and those of other companies.
Among the technologies was a headset fitted out with an Intel RealSense camera that allows users to juxtapose virtual reality within real surroundings. You could, for example, look at the room around you and then, looking through the headset, use your hand to click on a virtual button and choose furniture – say, a couch – to place into the room. In this way you could see how the space would look with that couch in it.
Israeli startup OutSense had on display a toilet with a box attached to the seat fitted with a tiny Intel computer that connects to a mobile app that helps analyze excretions. “We want to make sampling of stool history,” said Dr. Yaara Kapp-Barnea, the chief executive of the company. The stool analysis data is sent to a cloud and from there can be used to manage health, nutrition and stress issues, Kapp-Barnea said.
Intel’s other technologies included the Wigig for wireless gaming, in which a headset without cables allows you to play games by moving your head; a robot fitted with a camera that manages to detect and avoid obstacles; a drone that can be activated without a joystick, by just moving your hand in front of a camera; and a smart home, in which devices like lights, TV and the front door can be operated through a computer fitted with a camera that reads hand or head gestures and would be thus suitable for people with disabilities.