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Intel pushes SoCs with intelligent sensing

Posted: 15 Nov 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded markets  sensor  sensing SoCs 

Vida Ilderem, VP of Intel Labs, spoke at the closing keynote at the MEMS Executive Congress in Scottsdale, Ariz., about how Intel is gearing up to tap into intelligent sensing that is presenting huge opportunities in the embedded market.

Ilderem was hired away from Motorola's Applied Research and Technology Centre last year where she was VP of Systems and Technology Research, responsible for developing Motorola's current communication and interaction technologies, including the visual, computational and RF system-on-chip technologies. At Intel she is directing the efforts of 200 engineers towards RF, wireless SoC and associated physical technologies at Intel's Integrated Platform Research lab. Ilderem reports directly to Intel's CTO, Justin Rattner.

"MEMS and other sensing technologies are becoming increasingly important to consumer markets," said Ilderem. "Intelligent sensing and context-aware services are presenting huge opportunities in embedded markets with billions of wirelessly connected devices."

Intel has not traditionally been major supplier of embedded chips, but is now gearing up to move its processor expertise into embedded markets, prompting it to hire Ilderem to pioneer new capabilities and strategic directions for success in embedded markets.

According to Ilderem, dramatic increases in Internet traffic and online data storage over the next five years can be directly traced to consumer participation using devices powered by embedded processors, such as smartphones, accounting for as much as 70 per cent of Internet traffic.

Intel's challenge is to translate the massive amount of raw data streaming in from handset sensors, such as proximity, accelerometers, gyros and GPS, and translate it into context awareness of the user which can be fed to location-based and other smart services, from push advertising targeted at specific users to proactive wellness and preventative intelligence such as predicting life-threatening falls for the elderly before they happen.

Low-cost, smart power management and other traditional challenges must dovetail with new challenges aimed at deducing from sensor data where the user is and what they are doing in a secure manner and without violating their privacy. Sensor fusion, required for making intelligent inferences from multiple sensors, is the secret sauce, which will be facilitated by the integration of multiple sensors onto SoCs, according to Ilderem.

- R. Colin Johnson
  EE Times

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