Intel has unveiled a small, button-sized hardware module that the company says can deliver wearables in a range of form factors, including, rings, pendants, bags, glasses, and more. Dubbed Curie, the module can be used with either a rechargeable source or a coin-like watch battery.
Curie is composed of several elements, including a new version of the company's Quark chip -- the Quark SE, six-axis sensor with accelerometer and gyroscope, a Bluetooth LE radio, as well as 384kB flash memory. The module runs on an open source real-time operating system (RTOS).
"This changes the game of wearables," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at his keynote address at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, adding that the device, which is just out of the company's labs, is expected to be launched in the second half of the year.
According to Mike Bell, VP and GM of Intel's New Devices Group, the idea behind Curie is to help wearable companies cut product development time. "[Curie] essentially gets you pretty far along towards a product, you really just have to add your secret sauce on top of this and you’d have a pretty great wearable product," he said.
To speed the development of Curie-based wearable products, the company is also offering a complete software solution that includes a RTOS together with reference wearable applications called Intel IQ Software Kits.
Intel has been pushing hard to make inroads in the wearable tech market. Back in September last year, the chip giant unveiled My Intelligent Communication Accessory (MICA), a $495 luxury smart bracelet designed by fashion retailer Opening Ceremony and aimed specifically at women. The company has also partnered with many other firms including fashion eyewear designer Luxottica and smart glasses developer Vuzix.