Intel shows off button-sized wearable tech, partners with Oakley

By Aditi Pai
07:55 am
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Intel CurieThis year, at CES15, Intel unveiled Curie, a low-power module the size of a button that developers can use to build wearable devices.

“Last year, we partnered with leading technology, fashion and lifestyle brands to help build a robust wearable ecosystem," Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of Intel’s New Devices Group said in a statement. “With the Intel Curie module, Intel will continue to push the
envelope of what’s possible and enable companies to quickly and effectively build low-power wearables in various form factors.”

Intel explained that some form factors include rings, bags, bracelets, pendants, fitness trackers, and buttons.

Curie offers 384 kB flash memory, a low-power integrated DSP sensor hub with a proprietary pattern matching accelerator, Bluetooth LE, a 6-axis combo sensor with accelerometer and gyroscope, and battery charging capabilities. It's expected to ship in the second half of the year. 

Intel also announced a strategic partnership with sunglasses maker Oakley. Intel and Oakley plan to build luxury sports eyewear that will include integrated smart technology. The project they are working on, which will be unveiled later this year, is designed to enhance an athlete's performance.

Intel made quite a few moves within the digital health space last year.

In March 2014, Intel confirmed its rumored acquisition of Basis Science, the activity tracker company that made the high-end Basis B1 Band. Then in September, Basis Science unveiled a new wearable, the Basis Peak fitness and sleep tracker. The Peak device replaced the B1 and Carbon Steel devices, which are supported but no longer sold.

Last fall, Intel partnered with the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), a nonprofit organization focused on Parkinson’s disease research, to study symptom patterns in Parkinson’s patients. During the multiphase research study, Intel said patients will monitor their symptoms with wearable devices and researchers will use a big data analytics platform to then analyze the information gathered.

Around the same time, Intel partnered with headphone maker SMS Audio to develop biometric-sensing earbuds. The earbuds are powered by Valencell’s PerformTek technology. Rapper 50 Cent is a majority owner in SMS Audio.

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