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Button-sized Intel Curie computer will drive next-gen wearables

There has been some cool technology on display at this year’s CES, but one of the most exciting things to be unveiled (so far) is Intel’s Curie; a button sized computer with the potential to raise wearable technology to futuristic new heights.

The diminutive computer is based on Intel’s Quark SE SoC, which was developed specifically for wearable technology. It sports a Bluetooth LE radio, motion sensors and can be powered by either a coin-sized battery or a rechargeable cell, with either option giving Curie the power to run “for an extended period of time” — hopefully that means you won’t have to charge it every day.

Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich unveiled the tiny module at the company’s keynote in Las Vegas, and showed how the device, when coupled with some of Intel’s other new tech, could change the way people live their lives.

Of course, Curie isn’t a miniscule super computer. It lacks Wi-Fi and the ability to run applications (among other things) but there are plenty of potential uses. It could be programmed to perform specific tasks such as acting as a fitness tracker that is secreted so well into clothing that it’s barely visible. At the very least, it could make wearable technology truly wearable, in contrast to the plethora of large, sometimes cumbersome wristbands and watches that pass for wearable tech in the current age.

Once Curie is available, during the second half of 2015, we’ll no doubt get to see what it’s really capable of.

During the fun and engaging demonstration, Mr Krzanich showed how Intel’s wearable tech, including the company’s new RealSense 3D cameras, could actually give visually impaired people the ability to ‘see’, by sensing when objects are near and feeding back to the them through vibrating modules worn inside clothing.

Oakley, a company best known for its high-end eyewear, is teaming up with Intel to deliver an “intelligent product” in 2015, and Fossil is another company which will be utilising Intel’s new products in their upcoming wearables too.

Indeed, much of Intel’s current focus seems to be on wearable technology. 2014’s Make It Wearable challenge aimed to encourage inventive minds to think of fun new ways to implement wearable tech, and if Nixie, the wearable quad-copter-cum-camera and eventual winner of the contest, is anything to go on, the coming months are going to be an interesting time for Intel and wearable computing in general.

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