Rugged, innovative Intel "Cherry Trail" quad-core powered 8-inch Windows 10 tablet offers Intel RealSense three-dimensional data capture (by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
On May 30, 2016, MobileDemand announced the xTablet T8650, yet another innovative rugged tablet computer that offers something extra. In this case the extra is an (optional) integrated Intel RealSense camera system that can not only enhance productivity by quickly performing near-field automatic length and volume measurements, but also has the potential to revolutionize the generation of photorealistic 3D models as well as provide an entry to the emerging field of dimensional data acquisition.
But let's take a look at the xTablet T8650 hardware first. It's a handy 8-inch tablet with state-of-the-art technology, good connectivity, a wealth of data acquisition options, and substantial ruggedness. While we haven't had hands-on with the new unit yet, the xTablet T8650 seems a tougher, higher-end device than MobileDemand's existing T1500 and Flex 8 tablets in the same general display size class. However, this is again a device positioned below the Core processor level, so pricing should be attractive.
"Cherry Trail" tech — On the tech side, the xTablet T8650 runs Windows 10 Professional on an Intel Atom X5-8550 processor. This is a quad-core "system-on-chip" processor of Intel's 14nm "Cherry Trail" lineup that succeeds the popular 22nm "Bay Trail" roster. Integrated graphics are of the Intel Gen 8 variety, the same generation as Intel's high-end "Broadwell" chips. And the chip includes Intel's RealSense technology that, in conjunction with the integrated Intel R200 camera system, offers editing and measurement tools as well as 3D depth imaging. In addition, there's USB 3.0 support. So this is definitely not your Father's boring Atom chip.
There's 4GB of RAM and 64GB of mass storage, likely of the eMMC variety. The 8-inch display uses IPS technology, which means near perfect viewing angles from all directions. Luminance is 370 nits, not super-bright, but certainly more than adequate for warehouse applications, and even suitable for some outdoor work. 1280 x 800 pixel resolution means 189 pixels per inch, which makes it sharper than Dell's vaunted 4k UltraSharp desktop displays. There's 5-point capacitive multi-touch with a glove-touch mode as well as anti-beading properties. An active digitizer is optionally available.
For wired communication customers get two speedy USB 3.0 ports, audio, and micro-HDMI. On the wireless side it's fast dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth v4.0, integrated Broadcom GPS, and optional 4G LTE via a Sierra EM7355 module. There's the usual lineup of sensors (gyro, light, proximity, accelerometer), dual cameras (2mp front, 8mp rear), and, optionally, a high-performance 2D imager for scanning and a fingerprint reader.
Ruggedness — As far as ruggedness goes, we're not sure yet what approach MobileDemand took with the xTablet T8650 (the company offers everything from consumer tablets in a protective exoskeleton all the way to purpose-built tank-grade ruggedness). According to the specs, the device can handle MIL-STD-810G style 5-foot drops, there is a wide 14 to 122 degree operating temperature range, and the device carries an IP65 ingress protection rating (totally dust-proof and able to handle low-pressure water jets from all directions). The rubber bumpers look serious, as do the individual protective covers of all I/O ports.
Intel RealSense — But let's get to that integrated 3D camera. Here, Matt Miller, MobileDemand President and Founder, said, that "ten years ago in 2006, MobileDemand was the first to market with a barcode scanner integrated into a rugged tablet. Today, we're first to market with a 3D camera integration in the xTablet T8650. 3D technologies will offer immense value for the transportation and logistics, package delivery, airline/travel, and construction industries." What are we talking about here?
That'd be the optional integrated long range version of Intel's RealSense R200 3D camera. RealSense started with what Intel called "perceptual computing," i.e. gesture-based interaction with a computer, and quickly went beyond just that. Don't be mislead by the "3D" designation. The R200 is not one of those gimmicky 3D cameras with two lenses where you then have to wear special glasses to see a 3D picture!
Instead, the R200 3D camera setup MobileDemand is using has a regular digital RGB camera, an infrared scanner projector, and then left and right infrared cameras. The IR projector is scanning an object with infrared light. The two IR cameras record that information, providing a stereoscopic view of the object that allows computation of depth. This information can then either be superimposed on the human-viewable image, or used for all sorts of computations.
The applications are endless. For now, MobileDemand is developing software to acquire measurements, dimensions, object recognition, and 3D e-scenes using computer vision technology and algorithms. These can then, for example, feed 3D data such as measurements to existing end-user applications in a variety of industries. Below is an example, an application that quickly and automatically computes the volume of packages and pallet loads:
Is RealSense an instant game changer? That depends. Intel is very serious about the technology, offering drivers, an SDK, and demo materials. Productivity-enhancing applications are absolutely in the current realm of possibilities. That said, three dimensional data acquisition with mobile devices is in its infancy. The fact that MobileDemand is making the technology available to its customers early on shows the commitment of the company to provide its customers not only the electronic tools of today, but also offer a very real look at the tools of tomorrow. And knowing where things are headed can certainly make for potentially crucial competitive advantage.
Bottom line — With the new MobileDemand xTablet T8650 8-inch tablet, the company continues its tradition of providing rugged tablets for tough jobs in a variety of sizes, prices and degrees of toughness and performance. First and foremost, the T8650 seems a very compact, tough, handy and versatile 8-inch Windows 10 tablet. That it can also be used as a pilot and test bed for bleeding edge 3D data capturing and manipulation technology is (quite possibly highly productive) icing on the cake.
3D Camera Tablet Use Case ScenariosMobileDemand of Hiawatha, Iowa, is known as a leading provider of rugged tablet PC systems. Its xTablet family of rugged Tablet PCs is widely used in various industries to cut operational costs and improve customer service.
Specifications xTablet T8650
Windows tablet with Intel RealSense R200 3D camera
Windows 10 Professional
Quad-core Intel Cherry Trail X5-Z8550
1.44GHz, up to 2.4GHz burst speed
8.0-inch, 1280 x 800 HD (189 ppi, 16:10 aspect ratio), 370 nits