Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rachel Metz

A View from Rachel Metz

Intel Really, Really Wants You to Wear a Computer

Intel is finally getting ready to ship a tiny computer that could help make wearable gadgets a lot sleeker.

  • January 6, 2016

At last year’s CES, Intel showed off Curie, an itty-bitty wearable computer that could fit into a button—literally, as CEO Brian Krzanich pulled a button off his blazer during his keynote speech and explained it contained a demo module. On Tuesday, during the world’s largest chip maker’s keynote speech at this year’s CES, Krzanich said Intel will start shipping the chip in the first quarter, and that it will cost less than $10.

Curie is a pretty big deal for wearable computers, as it combines in a small package technology like a low-energy Bluetooth radio, accelerometers and gyroscopes for sensing different types of physical activity, and the ability to run for what Intel describes as “extended periods” on a coin-sized battery. With it, there’s a lot of potential for shrinking devices like smart watches and jewelry, and bringing capabilities like fitness tracking to all kinds of clothing and accessories without bulking them up. And the cost of Curie suggests this may be done without adding a huge amount to the price tag.

Intel, at least, hopes this is the case, and to punctuate its expectation Krzanich shared the stage with a variety of people using Curie in different ways. Two BMX riders, for instance, had the sensors on their bike seats and handlebars; they performed jumps and spins that were tracked in real time on an on-stage display. And the computer has been built into a pair of Oakley sunglasses—also showed off on stage—that can talk, telling you how your workout is going and modifying it as you go through it; the glasses will be available later this year.

Yet while Intel may see sports as a great venue to show off how useful Curie can be, I’m interested in more everyday applications. How about fitting it into my regular glasses, which I spend a lot more time wearing than my sporty workout pair? Or a belt or ring? For me, those are places where wearable computers might really be useful.

Want to go ad free? No ad blockers needed.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Connectivity

What it means to be constantly connected with each other and vast sources of information.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.