Intel has unveiled its plans for virtual reality (VR) and it involves something called Project Alloy; a wireless VR headset that can do “merged reality”. The company will also open a Hollywood technology studio.
Project Alloy: Wireless VR headset
Intel has apparently been working on virtual reality for some time and at its developer conference the company unveiled how far it has come. With Project Alloy it has created a reference design for a VR headset that is completely untethered from a PC. All electronics and sensors are built-in.
Intel says that it started with virtual reality but wanted to bring the real world into the virtual environment by using cameras, sensors and other technology. This means that you can actually see your hands or use objects from the real world inside the virtual. Intel calls it "merged reality", which probably says something about where on the development curve we are at this point. The industry still cannot agree on what to call all this.
- "Merged reality delivers virtual world experiences more dynamically and naturally than ever before – and makes experiences impossible in the real world now possible," said Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel.
Project Alloy will become an open source project in the second half of 2017, meaning that other companies can contribute and build hardware based on the reference design. Intel has also teamed up with Microsoft who will update Windows 10 to run the “Windows Holographic” UI with Intel’s headset.
Hollywood tech studio
Intel wants to do more than just create hardware. The company has also announced plans to establish "Intel Tech Experience Labs"; a Hollywood studio that aims to bring its technology into the content value chain.
By using its in-house "360 Replay" technology - as seen in the video - Intel hopes to make "merged reality" a reality, starting with sports. The company envisages that you will be able to freeze for example a live sports broadcast and move around the field freely.
Intel hopes to lay the foundation for “merged reality” over the coming years and let other companies and content creators in general take advantage of the possibilities. From a business perspective Intel imagines that these companies will use its servers to process the heavy 3D videos.
The potential of virtual reality or ”merged reality” is hard to deny but from the buyer’s perspective the companies have yet to come up with a design that will convince users to wear one of these things in the living room. Intel did not have a solution either.