Intel have just released details of Project Alloy at the Intel Developer Forum 2016, which is currently underway in San Francisco, USA.
Project Alloy is Intel’s entry in the virtual reality game: a headset that combines both virtual reality and augmented reality (they are calling it “merged reality”). It is a complete “all-in-one” device that is completely wireless; with no controller.
The headset utilises dual RealSense cameras to keep track of objects around the user to keep you from bumping into walls (bet it won’t be able to sense rogue Lego bricks in the carpet though), and will also have five finger recognition to adjust the appearance of your hands as per the software title allowing your hands to become the controller to interact with the virtual environment.
Being a wireless device, the obvious question is battery life, and it is hoped that Intel address battery life issues that tend to plague new technological devices (yes I am looking at you Apple). Intel also claim that Project Alloy is light, which it needs to be to avoid not-so-virtual neck pain.
When can we expect to see titles utilising Project Alloy? Expect to start seeing demos later next year as the device will be made available to partners in December, and the hardware will be made open source during the second half of 2017. Project Alloy will need a Windows PC to run using Windows Holographic Platform that will be part of the regular updates for Windows 10 next year.
With virtual and augmented reality revenue expected to increase from US$5.2 billion in 2016 to at least US$162 billion in 2020, this is the next technological boom industry with many applications outside of the gaming field; such as in medicine, defence and education. Already we are seeing companies like Samsung patenting augmented reality contact lenses and Sony will be one of the first to test the market with virtual reality gaming titles. It is no surprise then that Intel, to be competitive, are combining virtual and augmented reality technologies to create a more immersive user experience.