Intel has long been an innovative and customer-driven technology company. Since its inception in 1968, it’s continued to set new standards in the fields of computer manufacturing and development.
While you may already know that Intel technology is a game-changer for personal and professional computing, did you know that it can also be life-changing in other ways? Today, we’re taking a closer look at the strides that Intel is making in the world of community service, outreach, and education.
A Look at the Intel Foundation
The Intel Foundation has a simple yet effective mission: to make cutting-edge technology available for everyone, regardless of age, status, or location. Employees are working diligently to reach underrepresented communities and introduce STEM concepts in areas where there currently isn’t a dedicated tech focus.
This includes initiatives that lift up and support women, girls, and people of color. Let’s take a look at a few of the different areas of work, and the projects that Intel is working on.
Promoting STEM Education For All
Standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, STEM is an academic focus that prepares youth for jobs in a variety of technical fields. While many schools around the world are actively embracing these subjects, this isn’t the case everywhere. Moreover, there are certain demographics that are routinely and historically less involved in STEM activities than others.
Intel noticed that there was an especially large gender gap in STEM. As a result, the Foundation created their “She Will Connect” program, which allows middle-school girls to engage in hands-on technology experiences. The goal of this program is to inspire girls toward innovation and to encourage their interests in STEM-related subjects.
Thanks to the Foundation’s extensive global partnerships, the “She Will Connect” program is available in the U.S. and is extending into other countries. Intel also sponsors Women in Science (WiSci) STEAM Camps, which allows Intel volunteers to reach girls around the world using the Intel Future Skills curriculum. The WiSci STEAM Camps add an arts-based focus to traditional STEM subjects, covering topics that include:
- Artificial intelligence
- Leadership training
In addition to the U.S., Intel also offers WiSci STEAM Camps in Malawi and Peru.
Connecting Deaf and Hearing Communities
Recently, Intel developed a visual representation of its brand name. Designed with the brand’s deaf community in mind, the visual representation was the result of a partnership between Intel and sign language users.
While this is a major step in a more inclusive direction, it isn’t the only way that Intel is dedicated to extending its services to this group. Six years ago, the idea was born for a sign language interpretation app. Titled Omnibridge, the app leverages depth data, machine learning, and gesture analytics to translate conversations between members of the deaf and hearing communities.
While the app is still in development, Intel hopes to eventually install Omnibridge kiosks in areas around the world. While it’s not intended to fully replace interpreters, it can be beneficial in certain environments. This includes healthcare settings, where clear communication is critical.
Intel acknowledges that there are several core challenges facing our world today. Among others, these include:
- The digital divide
- Climate change
- Lack of inclusion
- Global pandemics
The community-driven company is focused on using technology to help alleviate some of these burdens. Collectively, these efforts are known as Rise 2030. Through this program, Intel hopes to create a more responsible, sustainable, and inclusive work model that other brands can emulate and follow.
Automated Vehicle Safety
As we inch closer to a world in which autonomous vehicles (AVs) dominate the roadways, Intel is focused on making sure this technology is as safe and efficient as possible. The company’s technology-neutral safety model, known as Mobileye, centers on an Intel proposal called Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS).
In short, RSS comprises five main safety rules. These include measures designed to ensure that AVs:
- Keep safe driving distances
- Avoid reckless cut-ins
- Understand rules around right-of-ways
- Use caution in low-visibility environments
- Follow tactics to avoid crashes
Accessible Product Design
Intel isn’t only working to bridge gaps between the deaf and hearing communities. Technology leaders are also looking for ways to ensure acccessible product designs for everyone. Their goal is that by 2030, all Intel UX teams will adopt an inclusive approach to product design and research.
To date, Intel has performed valuable and promising work in a range of areas related to accessible computing. These include projects designed with the visually impaired in mind, such as assistive touch to speech and indoor wayfinding.
The former can help provide spatial awareness for blind or visually-impaired tech users, while the latter offers navigational assistance in public places. Recently, one Intel developer created an Intel-powered backpack designed to be voice-operated. This innovation can help those with visual impairments better navigate the world around them, with commands that help them recognize:
- Traffic signs
- Nearby hanging obstacles
- Moving objects
- Elevation changes
Groundbreaking Laptop Research
Intel has always had a focus on pushing technology boundaries and attempting the impossible when it comes to computer design and development. This continues to be the case, as the brand seeks to create the world’s most advanced, accessible and long-lasting laptops.
Project Athena is Intel’s program focused on laptop innovation at every turn.
Made to emphasize a human-centered design focus and backed by real-world testing, these laptops can help people around the world perform new tasks and reach new heights. Many of the lines are developed under the new Intel Evo platform, which you can view here.
Pandemic Response Technology Initiative
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of so many people around the world. Intel recognizes that technology can help solve some of the resulting challenges that we’re now facing.
The Pandemic Response Technology Initiative, or PRTI, is a $50 million commitment focused on applying technology to address pandemic-related concerns in the following fields:
- Economic recovery
To date, Intel leaders have acknowledged that the PRTI has leveraged almost every piece of the company’s technology in some way. There are 230 projects that span across 170 organizations around the world. Moving forward, the PRTI will transition into the Intel RISE Technology Initiative, or IRTI.
This initiative will follow and expand existing PRTI plans, with an added emphasis on social equity, human rights, climate action, and accessibility. The IRTI program will add $20 million onto the existing PRTI investment and will feature efforts that include:
- Augmented telehealth solutions
- Advanced medical imaging
- Disease research
- Therapeutic development
- Remote learning solutions
- Emotional learning tools
Online Learning Facilitation
In 2020, Intel kicked off projects designed to advance inclusion and accessibility in the tech sphere. This includes a special focus on the following areas:
- Technology access
- Digital skills and readiness
- Online learning
- Product design accessibility
- Technology applications
One of the main programs is a push to help schools, teachers, and local governments embrace a fully-functional approach to online learning. This includes areas that do not typically have access to the tools, technologies, or training required to facilitate such projects.
In the U.S., Intel has powered remote learning solutions to students in more than 15,000 families. This represents 45 different school districts serving Title 1 students. One representative project is Intel’s Creating Learning Connections initiative.
Created in partnership with First Book, CDW, and others, this initiative provides students and educators with mission-critical tools and resources. This includes:
- Technology devices
- Internet connectivity
- STEAM learning solutions
Early Digital Readiness
In 2019, Intel launched a new artificial intelligence (AI) program called AI For Youth. Through this program, Intel encourages youth to dream up and create their own AI projects. There’s a focused emphasis on cultivating this knowledge, and the skills that are required to use it.
These include capabilities in the following areas:
- Data science
- Natural language processing
- Computer vision
- AI ethics and biases
- AI solutions building
Recently, students in the AI For Youth program set a Guinness World Record for the most users taking a virtual AI lesson in 24 hours! This record-breaking achievement occurred during the AI For Youth Virtual Symposium.
Moving forward into 2022 and beyond, Intel plans to scale the AI For Youth project to a much larger scale. The plan is to partner with 30,000 institutions around the world, as well as 30 different governments, to create an immersive program that everyone can experience and enjoy.
What Does the Future Hold For Intel Technology?
As these programs indicate, the future of Intel technology is strong. Moving into next year and beyond, it’s expected that these initiatives will continue to grow and spread throughout the world.
This is a company that doesn’t just claim to be focused on social responsibility, inclusive design, and accessible programming. Rather, these business leaders are making real investments and devoting real resources to such projects, expanding Intel’s presence into every corner of the globe.
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