Intel unveils tiny Quark chip for wearables

Intel has unwrapped a tiny new chip that is designed to power the new legion of wearable devices or gather medical data from the human body.

Quark, as the new chip is titled, is the smallest chip the company has ever produced and is designed to be small enough that it can even be swallowed to gather valuable medical data.

“The new lower-power products will extend Intel's reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Things to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance,” the company said in a press release announcing the product.

Renee James, who was appointed Intel’s president earlier this year, confirmed the chip is the “smallest thing” that has ever been built by the company and is five times smaller and 10 times more efficient than the Intel Atom chips. The price is likely to be less than the $42 [£26.50] it charges for each Atom chip.

James was talking at the Intel Developer Forum [IDF] that is currently taking place in San Francisco, California, and has a clear focus on mobile devices. The Wall Street Journal reports that the firm showed off a “bracelet-style gadget prototype” at the conference, which would likely be used to showcase the chip’s capabilities.

Qualcomm have employed a similar strategy with the Toq smartwatch designed to showcase its wearable chips and not to challenge the consumer smartwatchs that will use its chips.

Processors that can be used medically will take a bit longer to be released than the wearable variety due to various regulations that have to be adhered to before it can be used in medicine.

Image Credit: Flickr (Intel Free Press)