At the Intel developers conference 2016 in San Francisco, California, this week, Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, announced the development of a ‘Merged Reality’ headset. They call this Project Alloy and want to redefine what is possible in virtual reality headset today. The importance of this project to Intel was demonstrated by the announcement during the opening keynote of IDF 2016.
The device has no set specification as of today, or a fixed release date and price. Intel wants to bring this platform to the market as a development kit in 2017.
The device uses Intel’s Real Sense Technology to bring the real world into the VR-style headset. This way, the user can move freely around their surroundings, relying on external sensors to avoid accidents. As a consequence, Intel stresses that its device is completely untethered, meaning there is no cord that connects the user to any computer or power supply.
While this is not completely new, the combination of a cable-free environment with a good sensor technology pushes the usability of virtual headsets quite a bit. Intel uses the term ‘Merged Reality’ to describe the result. If ‘MR’ reminds you of mixed reality, the type that Microsoft is pushing with its HoloLens device, this maybe not be so far-fetched as Intel announced a collaboration with Microsoft to optimize Windows-based content on devices based on the Intel Alloy design.
While Intel will bring developer kits to the market in 2017, they are opening their hardware platform and APIs for the ecosystem to allow other hardware developers to create branded version of the Intel Alloy headset. – NH