Intel looks to providing smart wearable gadgets

Intel has unveiled a computer built into a jacket button and a wristband that transforms into a selfie-snapping flying camera, as the chipmaker extends its push into smart wearable gadgets.

Intel looks to providing smart wearable gadgets

Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich also announced a five-year, €250m investment in maths-related education and other programs to help employ more women and minorities in the technology and video game industries.

Mr Krzanich used most of his keynote to talk up Intel’s efforts in computerized apparel and other sensor-packed gadgets.

They are nascent markets that the chipmaker and other technology companies hope will fuel future growth as demand for smartphones and tablets loses steam.

Curie, a new button-sized computer for smart clothes, is due out later in 2015 and includes Bluetooth radio as well as the latest from Intel’s Quark line of low-power chips.

Intel’s chips so far have not made significant inroads into wearable gadgets such as fitness bands or smart watches.

“With this product they can deliver wearables in a range of form factors”, Mr Krzanich said of Intel’s manufacturing customers.

“Rings, bags, bracelets, pendants, and yes, even the buttons on our jackets.”

Intel is working with Oakley to launch a smart gadget for athletes later this year, Krzanich said.

The chipmaker announced it was developing smart glasses with Luxottica, which owns the Oakley brand.

Krzanich demonstrated autonomous flying drones able to navigate around obstacles.

He also showed a smaller drone worn on the wrist until it is launched into the air. Called Nixie, the camera-equipped gadget in November won a wearable computing contest sponsored by Intel.

Intel was slow to launch chips for smartphones and tablets, and Krzanich, who took over as CEO in 2013, has made it a priority to avoid repeating that mistake with future computing trends.

Krzanich announced a goal to reach full representation of women and minorities in Intel’s workforce by 2020.

Just a quarter of Intel’s US employees in 2013 were women and 12% were Hispanic or black, according to company data.

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