Access is Everything

How Do Tablets Work? The Answers to this and More

Ken Kaplan Executive Editor, iQ by Intel

Hit with that question on the streets of Europe, people improvised some wickedly witty responses.

If there’s one thing people have in common — and often it’s also what sets us apart — it is their personal computing devices. While everybody may have a favorite model or function, when asked exactly how it all works … well, most people rely on imagination.

Recently on the streets of London, passersby were asked by Intel a series of seemingly simple questions:

“What makes your device work?”

“What powers it?”

“What keeps information on your device secure?”

You won’t believe what happened next.

A mix of nine men and women — couples, friends and individuals — each did their improvisational best to describe the inner workings of tablets and 2 in 1 computers.

Simple questions about battery life or device security yielded stream-of-consciousness answers that were factually inaccurate but undeniably witty and entertaining.

Results were captured on video in London, Barcelona and other European cities for a series called #howitworks, and they’re flat out hilarious if not inspiring.

A leather jacketed female rock fan in Covent Garden flailed her arms about and said “a big spider beast with light tentacles.”


That’s how she described the circuitry that governed a tablet.

When stopped in Camden, Leopold Kucharzyk and Ronak Raj described the microprocessor as if they were an old time stand-up comedy duo.

One began saying, “It’s a network of canals,” to which the other replied, “No, it’s more like a brain. A pink brain with neurons.”

They quickly agreed that the neurons are like tiny electronic messages that are light gold. No, light blue.


“They collate together and that forms whatever you ask the tablet to do,” they concluded.

Then there was the question: What powers the device?

Many answers painted a world inside devices not unlike the world outside. There was the idea that a device is powered by beings with “nanobyte coffees” or by a little man who eats a healthy diet of vegetables and runs on a mini-hamster wheel. Yes, that’s what keeps the device going!

But when it comes to the questions of security, that’s where things got crazy.

One man talked about “soldiers with little spears” keeping enemies at bay while others riffed about a square-headed man and his six henchmen protecting against bad intrusions.

Taken as a whole, these videos underscore that despite how much people love their personal devices most know little about how things work.

Despite not knowing their inner workings, people use their devices to connect with others and get more out of life every day.

One described how a 2-in-1 computer, which can be used as a laptop or tablet, is like a mini “me manager.”

After the last question, these passersby got to hold a tiny Intel microprocessor in their hands.

“Is that what makes this thing work?” asked one participant. “That’s ridiculous!”

Or crazy, beautiful science.

Learn more about how Intel technology brings performance to tablets.

Todd Krieger contributed this story.

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