Tag Archives: Intel

What is Optane Memory?

Optane is a revolutionary class of memory from Intel creating a bridge between dynamic RAM and storage for delivering an intelligent and amazingly responsive computing experience. For instance, Intel claims an increase of 28% in overall system performance, 14 times faster hard drive access, and two times increase in responsiveness in everyday tasks.

However, this revolution is not for everyone. It works only on the 7th generation Intel Core processor based systems that affordably maintain their capacity in mega-storage. For those using the above processor-based system, Intel promises Optane will deliver shorter boot times, faster application launching, extraordinarily fast gaming experience, and responsive browsing. However, there is a farther catch; you need to be running the latest Windows 10 operating system to take full advantage of Optane.

According to Intel, Windows 10 users on the 7th gen Intel Core processing systems can expect their computers to boot up twice as fast as earlier, with web browsers launching five times faster, and games launching up to 67% faster. Intel claims their Optane memory to be an adaptable system accelerator adjusting the tasks of the computer on which it is installed to run them more easily, smoothly, and faster. Intel provides an intelligent software for automatically learning the computing behavior and thereby accelerating frequent tasks and customizing the computer experience.

Intel’s new system acceleration solution places the new memory media module between the controller and other SATA-based storage devices that are slower. This includes SSHD, HDD, or SATA SSD. Based on 3D XPoint memory media, the module format stores commonly used programs and data close to the processor. This allows the processor to access information more quickly and thereby, improves the responsiveness of the overall system.

However, the Intel Optane memory module is not a replacement for the system Dynamic RAM. For instance, if a game requires X GB of DRAM, it cannot be divided between DRAM and Optane memory to meet the game requirements. Regular PC functioning will continue to require the necessary amount of DRAM.

For those who already have installed a solid-state disk or SSD in their computer systems can also install the Intel Optane memory for additional speed benefits. As such, the Intel Optane memory can extend acceleration to any type of SATA SSDs. However, the performance benefits are observed to be greater when the Intel Optane memory is used on slower magnetic HDDs, rather than when installed in systems with faster SSD-SATA.

Although other caching solutions exist, such as those using NAND technology, Intel’s Optane memory is entirely different. This new technology is a high performance, high endurance solution with low latency and quality of service or QoS. Optane uses the revolutionary new 3D XPoint memory media that performs well not only in low capacities, but also has the necessary endurance for withstanding multiple reading and writing cycles to the module.

In addition, Intel’s new Rapid Storage Technology driver, with its leading-edge algorithm, creates a compelling high-performance solution for a user-friendly, intuitive installation with easy to use setup process that automates the configuration to match the needs of the user.

How Sensors help Seniors Live Independently

With the benefits of medical science and increased awareness, people are now living longer than their ancestors did. Along with longer living, they also desire to live as independently as possible in their senior years. However, certain risks are part of independent lifestyles. These include inadequate care resulting in deteriorating health and debilitating falls. Researchers are addressing these issues by developing smart homes. They are using sensors and other devices and technologies for enhancing the safety of residents while monitoring their health conditions.

In-home sensors permit unobtrusive monitoring of individuals. That offers enormous potential for providing timely interventions and for improving the health trajectory, because health problems can be detected early, before they become more serious. Therefore, individuals are assured of continued high functional ability, independence with better health outcomes.

University of Missouri has an ongoing project in HAS or Health Alert Systems using sensor technology. They are testing HAS in senior housing in Cedar Falls, Iowa and in Columbia, Mo. They presently use motion sensors to monitor activity, acoustic and vision sensors for fall detection, Kinetic depth images for gait analysis and webcams for silhouette images. They have a new hydraulic bed sensor to capture quantitative restlessness, respiration and pulse. HAS also uses pattern recognition algorithms for detecting pattern changes in the data collected by sensors. Based on this, HAS can generate health alerts and forward them to clinicians, who diagnose them further to determine appropriate intervention.

Researchers at the university are evaluating the usability and effectiveness of HAS for managing chronic heath conditions. They are presently testing the HAS at remote sites, away from healthcare providers. Researchers expect this approach will provide important information on ways to scale up the system into other settings. According to the researchers, the next big step will be to move the system into independent housing where most seniors prefer to be. This will also offer significant potential healthcare cost savings, enabling seniors to live independently.

This research will improve the health care and the quality of life for older adults. Researchers are focusing on newer approaches for assisting health care providers in identifying potential health problems early. This will offer a model in eldercare technology, which will keep seniors independent while at the same time, reducing healthcare expenses. The project also has a plan – It will train the next generation of researchers in handling real, cyber-physical systems. It will mentor students through an interdisciplinary team, while the research outcomes are integrated into the classroom teachings.

Similar efforts are also under research in other places. For example, researchers at the Intel Labs, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, are working on ways of taking out the drudgery involved in housework. They are presently designing HERB or Home Exploring Robotic Butler, a smart and resourceful robot. According to the researchers, HERB will be able to walk into a room, assess its layout and move about by itself.

Researchers at Intel Labs believe disabled and senior citizens will adopt robot butlers early on, as they most need help around the house.

Can Hardware Thwart Attackers?

At the Gamecon Congress 2015 at Cologne, Germany, Intel announced its 6th Generation of Core processors. Although they did not elaborate, the new chips have vPro on-chip hardware, which is important to the security of business users. Among the new 6th Generation vPro Cores, several of them have new hardware capabilities that include Authenticate and Unite. Intel claims this on-chip hardware to be unhackable, and these can verify the identity of users, allowing them to project their screens onto any WiDi or Wireless Display in the world.

According to Tom Garrison, General Manager of Intel Business Client, the 6th generation vPro Cores will offer workplaces higher productivity, higher security, and higher collaborative experience for business users. As more enterprises now allow users to choose their own devices ranging from Windows to Apple products, Intel is targeting at lowering the price of transforming the workplace in accommodating them. For instance, Intel claims to have dropped their workplace cost per user from $250 to $150 through the transformation.

Intel 6th Gen vPro users now have three-way docking – with their WiDi, WiGig or their business network. They can also use the wired Thunderbolt dock as it has a dual function, charging the laptop and offering 40-Gbit speeds. Intel claims 300 design wins for their 6th generation design WiDi capabilities and about 600 for the WiGig.

According to Intel, with their 6th Gen vPro cores, users will see several improvements, even in the five-year old laptops that several businesses still use. These include a 2.5-fold performance improvement, three times extension of battery life, and 30-times speedier graphics performance. Intel is also offering its mobile users a performance equivalent to Xeon-caliber. However, the most important announcement still remains the authentication hardware from Intel.

According to Garrison, Authentication is a new capability, never before seen. Using Authentication, the information technology department of a business can guarantee the authenticity of any user with two or more factors. That makes break-ins using stolen credentials virtually outdated.

With Authentication, users can select up to four additional factors supported by the unhackable on-chip hardware. This includes PIN, proximity of the phone using Bluetooth, a defined location such as the office, home, or any other, and biometrics such as retina scan or fingerprint.

With Intel Unite hardware, the 6th Gen Core processors allow business users to link their laptop screens wirelessly onto any connected display in the world. They can also control their environment such as dim the lighting and other niceties. Users have to enter a six-digit PIN to connect to any WiDi equipped display, whether in a conference room or anywhere in the world. For business users, this comes complete with Skype. Now, the 6th Generation core users can mirror their laptop display on any big screen-presentation without having to turn to dongles, cords, or wires.

Even in this down market, Intel is claiming 200 business-wins for its 6th Gen vPro Cores, along with 100 vPro design-ins, and over 30 wins with their Intel Ultrabook designs. They have also completed 300 trials of deployment for their WiDi wireless display technology, and more than 600 trials with their WiGig wireless docking design-wins.

ARDUINO 101: The Curie-Powered Sensor-Packed Arduino

Intel and Arduino have teamed up to generate a new single board computer, the Arduino 101. Scheduled for market availability in the first quarter of 2016, the Arduino 101 is powered by the Curie module from Intel. Aimed at educating youngsters in the emerging technologies, the SBC is packed with sensors, yet affordably priced.

Arduino 101 has the input and output capabilities of the classic Arduino UNO, but also includes hardware for Bluetooth wireless communication. In addition, Arduino 101 comes with a gyroscope and a 6-axis accelerometer.

Intel and Arduino are promoting their cobranded board for furthering their initiative, Arduino 101 in the Classroom. This is a computer science and design curriculum meant for educating students in the age group 11-14 years in emerging technologies. The Arduino 101 will also be following the hardware configuration of the Curie module. Contestants will be using this board during the upcoming reality television show, America’s Greatest Makers, by the Intel and Turner Broadcasting System.

Those familiar with the Arduino UNO will find Arduino 101 has the same form factor of 70x55x20mm. Differences are an on-board antenna on the bottom right-hand corner of the circuit board and a new main processor. This is the Intel Quark, a low-power 32-bit micro-controller also known as the Curie module. The specialty of this particular Quark is the Bluetooth communication hardware, the gyroscope and the 6-axis accelerometer are on its die.

Users can program the Arduino 101 in the same process they followed for the Arduino UNO. You write your code and compile it with the Arduino IDE, before uploading it to your board. To allow programmers utilize the unique features of the Curie module, Intel is expected to offer special libraries. Initially, Intel had packaged the Curie module in the size of a tiny button and it was supposedly meant for wearable projects. Later, they changed direction towards the Curie-powered Arduino.

Intel is following this go-to-market strategy for its system-on-chips. Intel also packaged an earlier SOC, the Edison. Intel also designed accessory boards for the Edison and Sparkfun produced these boards for Intel. Intel and Arduino had teamed up earlier for the Intel Galileo – the micro-controller board certified by Arduino had Arduino-compatible headers.

The specifications of the Curie indicate it is powered by 1.8V, the popular voltage of a coin-cell battery. However, to power the IO on the Arduino 101 properly, the voltage requirements as dictated by the Arduino ecosystem are at least 3.3V. Limitations imposed by the Arduino 101 design rule out the possibility of a coin-cell battery powering the Curie.

The Curie module also has a 128-node neural network built into it, which users could use for machine-learning applications. However, Intel will not be providing software support for the technology at the time of Arduino 101 launch. They may support it later.

David Cuartielles, the co-founder of Intel’s marketing of Arduino, will be using Arduino 101 in their Creative Technologies in the Classroom or CTC. Earlier, the curriculum used the Arduino UNO for teaching students in a playful way. Now, they will be using the Arduino 101 for teaching basic programming skills in electronics and mechanical design.

Combining online and offline: the future of cash registers

Hate going shopping in person but don’t want to buy everything online? Consider the future of shopping where cash registers will not just be able to ring up your purchases, but be able to tell you what other items would match the sweater you’re buying that day….including a review of your past purchases.

Love the idea or hate it, that is the future of brick and mortar checkout. Combining the online catalog with a streamlined checkout process, the goal is to help you shop smarter, better and of course, more often.

Intel has a future generation register in development right now that does all of this, plus more. In fact, it is predicted that in the future you won’t even need to bring your credit card – your cell phone will be the method of payment and receipts will be sent right to your phone. Added bonus – no more lost receipts for returns and exchanges.

Take a look at this video that shows what Intel is working on right now: