IBM Project Intu Brings Watson Machine Learning To Drones, Robots, IoT Devices

IBM has just made available to developers an experimental version of Project Intu, a system agnostic platform that allows for the integration of Watson capabilities into various end-user form factors. With Project Intu, developers can incorporate cognitive experiences into a variety of products and services, including avatars, robots, drones, and the growing Internet of Things (IoT) category, to name a few.

One could view this as a step towards bringing machine learning into consumer devices and everyday products. Forget about today's crop of digital assistants like Siri and Cortana, Project Intu could lead to much more immersive experiences by enabling devices to interact in a more natural way with users. It also make the process easier for developers to combine movements that are necessary for specific tasks, such as assisting a customer in a retail store or greeting a visitor in a hotel. It's sort of a template to build upon.

IBM Watson

"Typically, developers must make architectural decisions about how to integrate different cognitive services into an end-user experience – such as what actions the systems will take and what will trigger a device’s particular functionality. Project Intu offers developers a ready-made environment on which to build cognitive experiences running on a wide variety of operating systems – from Raspberry PI to MacOS, Windows to Linux machines, to name a few," IBM explains.

While still a niche category in the grand scheme of things, market research firm IDC has observed significant growth in cognitive-enabled applications. The firm estimates that three quarters of developer teams will tap into cognitive and/or artificial intelligence technology for use in at least one application or service by 2018.

There exists a variety of potential markets for this.

"IBM is taking cognitive technology beyond a physical technology interface like a smartphone or a robot toward an even more natural form of human and machine interaction," said Rob High, IBM Fellow, VP and CTO, IBM Watson. "Project Intu allows users to build embodied systems that reason, learn and interact with humans to create a presence with the people that use them – these cognitive-enabled avatars and devices could transform industries like retail, elder care, and industrial and social robotics."

Developers wanting to give Project Intu a look can access the platform on the Watson Developer Cloud, on Intu Gateway, and on GitHub.