John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

No, That’s a Terminator 2 Script. This Is the Programmable Matter Roadmap

If, as futurist Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” then Intel (INTC) may well be the Hogwarts of IT. At the chipmaker’s Developer Forum on Thursday, CTO Justin Rattner discussed a handful of new technologies that might appear to be magic to those unfamiliar with the concepts of wireless power transmission and programmable matter. Taking a cue from Nikola Tesla, who envisioned a “world system” for “the transmission of electrical energy without wires, Intel has designed a system that uses the resonant properties of magnetic fields to broadcast up to 60 watts of power two to three feet, with 75 percent efficiency. “Something like this technology could be embedded in tables and work surfaces,” said Rattner. “So as soon as you put down an appropriately equipped device it would immediately begin drawing power. In the future, your kitchen counters might do it. You’d just drop your espresso maker down on them and you would never have to plug it in.”

Also highlighted during Rattner’s keynote, Intel’s work in programmable matter. With tiny programmable elements called catoms (claytronics atoms), said Rattner, the company believes it will someday be able to build a mobile device that could be stretched wide to browse the Web and then compacted and worn as an ear-piece as needed. … Or, say, a shape-shifting cyborg assassin that might be sent into the past to destroy the human resistance.

Astonishing, right? Almost … magical.

“The industry has taken much greater strides than anyone ever imagined 40 years ago,” Rattner said. “There is speculation that we may be approaching an inflection point where the rate of technology advancements is accelerating at an exponential rate, and machines could even overtake humans in their ability to reason, in the not so distant future.”

Next stop: The Age of Spiritual Machines.

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