Intel Multiapp TV Framework
Internet TV platforms have really taken off in the last year or so, providing services like youtube, lovefilm video streaming, and social networking right there on your telly. However, one area that has been left lacking with these developments is the ability to multitask. So an Intel research project has been looking at the viability of using the CE4100, an Atom-based System On a Chip (SOC), to power the TV interface and provide multitasking abilities.
As such you'll be able to open a web browser, or twitter client while the TV's still running in the background. Once done tweeting you can then minimise that window and open up a streaming video, say. All the while the other apps aren't closed and you can simply flip between them as you please.
From what we saw the CE4100 platform certainly seemed capable of powering such a system and, with this hardware set to power the first generation of GoogleTV products, we wouldn't be surprised to see very similar technologies to those demoed in commercial TVs very shortly. We can only hope they don't opt to go for the flower-based 3D carousel interface though.
Context Aware Car
The next piece of research was looking into how we can add extra sensing abilities to a car to make us drive more safely and in greater comfort. The basic demo consisted of a facial recognition system that would identify you as you entered the car then set the air conditioning to your preferred temperature, the seat to the right position, etc. By combining this with information from other sensors, such as GPS and tachometers, the system could even change the temperature or genre of music to best fit the situation in which you're driving.
As for the safety side of things, the main ability demonstrated was a variation of something already commercially available in cars: the facial recognition system could detect when your head's dropped or turned to the side and set off appropriate 'stop-getting-distracted-by-the-attractive-man/woman-in-the-car-next-to-you-and-keep-your-eyes-on-the-road' alerts.
It's all variations on functionality that's already available in cars but with the addition of facial recognition and a completely integrated system where every parameter can be combined for a single overall reaction, rather than just a series of separate ones. This is one bit of research that we can actually see coming to market sooner rather than later as it's certainly a direction car technology is moving in at the moment.