Intel CEO Brian Krzanich takes the stage at CES 2016 on a hoverboard he would later reveal to double as a personal robot.
Intel has long dominated the chip world, but the company has ambitions to move beyond processors.
The Santa Clara, California-based chip giant on Tuesday pulled back the curtain on some of its plans, announcing partnerships with a variety of companies that underscore the three trends that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said are shaping the future: the smart and connected world, technologies gaining human-like senses, and computing becoming ultra-personal.
“Almost every part of life that we enjoy today is powered by technology,” he said.
One of the more interesting announcements was a Segway hoverboard that transforms into a personal robot at the touch of a button. Krzanich, who took the stage at the beginning of his keynote address on a seemingly innocuous hoverboard, later revealed that the device can transform into a personal robot that can programmed to perform a variety of functions in a smart home environment.
The robot is open platform, meaning anyone can build on it, and features voice recognition and streaming video via a RealSense 3D camera that helps the robot maneuver around obstacles. The robot’s developer release, expected in the second half of 2016, will allow inventors to develop new uses and applications for the robot.
“We believe this is the beginning of a new ecosystem, one where robots can actually be open platforms and become useful partners,” Krzanich said.
Surprising no one, Intel also jumped into the drone market with the introduction of Yuneec (pronounced “unique”) Typhoon H, a commercial drone that uses also Intel’s RealSense 3D. The drone features collapsible propellers, retractable landing gear, a 4K camera, and a controller features a display that allows the pilot to see what the drone is seeing in real time.
Intel is also getting in to the augmented-reality game, the Daqri Smart Helmet, a hardhat that uses the company’s RealSense 3D camera to offer a form of augmented reality, which promises to take you to new worlds or add to your existing one through sophisticated head gear.
The company showed off a kind of x-ray vision by letting a worker see through pipes that might be faulty, which can be picked up by its RealSense camera. The helmet could also be used to give workers digital directions on top of what they’re looking at when doing manual labor.
Intel is also looking to snag athletes with Radar Pace, a pair of smart sunglasses developed with Oakley that has a voice-activated coaching system. The eyewear is supposed to give real-time feedback and track the progress of an athlete. It’s part of a broader deal with Italian eyewear giant Luxottica Group.
New Balance CEO Robert DeMartini, meanwhile, also joined Krzanich to announce that the Boston-based athletic apparel company would develop a smart sport watch for the next holiday season.
But Intel has more than just gadgets on its mind. Krzanich used his keynote to highlight Intel’s efforts to increase diversity in its workforce. He said that 43 percent of Intel’s new hires last year were women and minorities.
He also revealed plans for new effort to stop online harassment. He said he would discuss the effort during an event Thursday with partners in the effort, which include Vox Media, Re/code and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.
“We must remember that behind every device, every game, every connection, is a real person,” he said.