Mobile phones and smartphones have revolutionised the world, but if Intel’s predictions are anything to go by, they will be just a stepping stone on the way to almost every device containing a powerful computer.

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, the tech giant unveiled a new chip specifically designed for tiny computing devices. The chip, which they have named Edison, is just the size of an SD card, but features a 400 MHz Quark processor with integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

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Intel might have missed out on the explosion in smartphone use, but is making a multi-billion dollar gamble on this tiny tech. If its gamble pays off, the Intel Edison card may be found in hundreds of devices in the near future – not just phones and computers, and not necessarily just glasses and other clothes either, but coffee cups, chairs, tables and an almost endless number of other items.

Combining a huge number of capabilities, and packing incredible power into such a small size, Intel hopes the Edison will be a game-changer, opening up “endless” opportunities for inventors and entrepreneurs and enabling “thousands of visionaries” to create their own smart devices.

This could herald an important step on the road to a world where connected devices are no longer designated objects, such as phones and computers, but are instead an aspect of thousands of other objects that can communicate with each other. For example, an Intel Edison board can connect to a baby’s clothing to monitor their motion, temperature and breathing, and then communicate with other connected devices if required, such as by activating a bottle warmer should the baby begin to stir. Intel calls this the Mimo baby monitor.

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