Intel is working with MIT to design impressive high-resolution image scaling chips

Intel has been making some pretty big claims in the PC gaming space recently. Recently, the company presented its CPU roadmap to 2024 and beyond. But there’s more to Intel than just a maker of PC gaming parts, of course the company is showing off its brand new Arc Alchemist GPU running Tomb Raider to investors, but it’s also doing things like creating this e-book cool that helps preserve people’s voices with MND.

Intel is also working on some exciting new technologies with real-time imaging devices. According to MIT NewsIntel has worked with researchers to create a radar device that’s far more capable than other systems, but with the ability to fit in the palm of your hand.

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The credit card-sized device was designed by researchers from MIT’s Terahertz Integrated Electronics Group, led by Associate Professor Ruonan Han. It consists of a reflector array with approximately 10,000 antennae designed to electronically focus a beam of energy with no moving parts. This terahertz beam of energy is somewhat similar to things like X-rays, and can pass through many solid materials but is non-ionizing so should have no adverse health effects. It shares properties with infrared radiation and microwave radiation as it lies between the two on the electromagnetic spectrum.

“Antenna arrays are very interesting because just by changing the delays that feed each antenna, you can change the direction in which the energy is focused, and it’s completely electronic,” says Nathan Monroe ’13, MNG’ 17, first author of the paper who recently completed his doctorate in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at MIT. “So it comes as an alternative to those big radar dishes you see at the airport that move with motors. We can do the same thing, but we don’t need moving parts because we just change a few bits in a computer.

This means the device could be ideal for detecting 3D spaces for drones, self-driving cars, or even medical scans inside our own bodies. Since it uses terahertz waves instead of light, weather is not as much of an issue as it is for light detection and ranging devices. The device even managed to generate higher resolution images than much larger radars like Cape Code, a building visible from space. Although to be fair, this credit card sized device can only cover a much smaller area.

But this is also where this technology gets really interesting. Thanks to the design of the semiconductors, these networks are also scalable and can be assembled. So Cape Code may just want to watch their backs in the future.

“Intel’s advanced high-reliability assembly capabilities combined with state-of-the-art high-frequency Intel 16 silicon process transistors have enabled our team to innovate and deliver a compact, efficient, and scalable imaging platform to frequencies below the terahertz. These compelling results further strengthen the Intel-MIT research collaboration,” says EECS graduate student Dogiamis.

Even when it comes to PC gaming, there are some potentially very interesting implementations for this kind of technology. With the size and potential consumer availability down the line, this could be used in VR or AR products to help easily and accurately map play areas. Perhaps even easily and quickly digitize digital assets . Digital copies of real locations could potentially be easier to integrate into virtual worlds, and who knows, maybe it could even help make the metaverse a little less weird. That goal seems a little too monumental, so if Intel can just deliver on those low-key GPU promises for 2022, I’ll be happy.

About Raymond A. Bentley

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