Tech Innovation

Intel IDF 2015: Skylake, Optane and everything else you need to know


On August 18, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich took the stage at the 2015 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) to showcase a vast array of current and future tech, from RealSense-powered robot butlers to Curie-equipped BMX bikes. Here’s what you need to know.

The codename for Intel’s 6th generation Core processors, which launched in August and are led by the new 14nm Core i7-6700K processor. Not only are they faster than 5th generation chips, but they are powerful enough to drive multiple 4K monitors for more immersive gaming experiences, part of what intel calls ‘Sensification’.

According to Krzanich, Intel’s vision for the future of technology revolves around three core ideas. Alongside wearables (“an extension of you”) and smart IoT devices is Sensification. This describes devices that respond to voice commands (using Intel Smart Sound technology), offer more immersive gaming (on 6th gen Intel Core processors), even robots that can see the world with RealSense eyes.

Multiple monitor gaming at Intel IDF
Intel’s 6th generation processors can drive multiple monitors in high resolutions, enabling more immersive gaming experiences.

One of the big fears that people have about the rise of IoT devices is whether they are secure. What’s to stop someone hacking into your security camera? Or messing with your network? Intel’s Enhanced Privacy Identification (EPID) is a digital signature system designed to be implemented into future IoT sensors and microcontrollers for authentication and security.

Project Tango
A Google initiative that aims to give “a mobile device the ability to navigate the physical world similar to how we do as humans.” Project Tango hopes to do this by improving the vision systems on mobile devices beyond. Intel RealSense, with its depth-sensing technology, is perfect for this and RealSense camera support will be baked into the next Project Tango developer kit.

Intel Project Tango at IDF 2015
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich demonstrates an Intel RealSense smartphone developer kit for Project Tango at IDF 2015.

5G networking
Intel plans to lead the development of 5G. While the next-gen technology won’t be available until 2020 at the earliest, faster mobile networks will be needed to connect smart city sensors, autonomous cars, industrial automation system and billions of other devices that make up the rapidly growing Internet of Things.

This acronym stands for ‘System On a Chip’ and SoCs are getting smaller all the time. Intel’s Curie module, for example, incorporates a Quark SoC, Bluetooth LE, a six-axis sensor with accelerometer and gyroscope, plus battery charging circuitry. Together with new IQ Software Kits, Curie was shown in smart bracelets, BMX bikes and controlling a robot spider army.

An Intel Curie module
Intel’s tiny Curie module features a 32-bit Quark SoC, six-axis sensor (including an accelerometer and gyroscope), plus Bluetooth LE.

Security bracelet
In this year’s IDF keynote, Intel demonstrated a password-banishing security bracelet — an enterprise-class wearable that can auto-unlock a PC or other device when you approach it and lock it when you walk away. The Curie-powered bracelet is an Intel Labs proof-of-concept, enabling a user to carry an authentication code with them that remains valid for as long as the bracelet is worn.

Intel Optane
Remember Intel’s new 3D XPoint memory technology? In 2016, you’ll start to see the new non-volatile memory (NVM) being used in SSDs and data center DIMMs under the brand name ‘Optane’. Compared to traditional NAND flash memory, Optane storage devices could be up to 1,000 faster and 1,000 times more reliable.

We welcome our robot overlords…

Giant spiderbot at Intel IDF
This spiderbot uses an Intel Core i7, 6 Edison platforms, a RealSense camera and an Intel-powered laptop to showcase the possibilities of tech at IDF 2015.

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