Intel Looking For Partners For Their New Virtual Reality Headset
Intel, who has hit by the downturn in PC sales has now moved into the virtual reality headset market with a device that allows objects from the real world to be integrated into a computer-generated view.
The US processor company is taking a cautionary approach as it is desperate to avoid the pitfalls that they faced when they tried to get into the smartphone market, the company also admits that they botched an opportunity to supply Apple with processes for that iPhone.
Their latest project called “alloy” allows users to see their own hands, the company has no intention of selling their new technology directly instead they are looking to work with existing PC partners as well as new partners looking for the latest in virtual reality headset technology.
Intel claims that there project Alloy marks an opportunity to pitch its RealSense depth-sensing cameras, Replay graphics-creation software and other proprietary inventions to others before virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices – which superimpose graphics over a real-world view – goes mainstream.
Analysts claim that Intel is set to face a competitive marketplace for that technology are several other manufacturers currently developing similar technology.
Facebook’s Oculus division has just announced its virtual reality headset will go on sale in the UK on 20 September, having already launched in the US, at this stage it’s not known when or if the headset will go on sale in Australia.
HTC offers a rival VR headset – the Vive – that can match its users’ footsteps to in-game movements.
Microsoft is developing an augmented reality headset – the HoloLens – which is already available in a test version to developers.
Sony’s PlayStation VR hardware is set to go on sale on 13 October.
Apple’s chief executive has revealed that it is working on AR products, but has not detailed what they are currently working on
Facebook will shortly release its Oculus Rift VR headset in the UK.
Furthermore, AMD – a rival chipmaker to Intel – is developing an untethered headset of its own that mixes together AR and VR technologies.
Intel’s chief executive, Brian Krzanich, said that one of the benefits of its approach, was that the headset’s RealSense cameras could detect a user’s finger movements and allow them to appear in a virtual world and manipulate simulated objects.
“Merged reality is about more natural ways of interacting with and manipulating virtual environments,” he said in a blog later published on Medium.
Mr Krzanich said the Project Alloy headset had a battery pack built in to power it
“[That liberates] you from the controllers and the nunchucks of today’s VR systems by immersing your hands – your real-life hands – into your simulated experiences.”
In an on-stage demonstration reported by the BBC, the hands could be seen only if they were held near to the centre of the user’s field of view.
When Mr Krzanich stood in front of the headset, he appeared within the view of its wearer
He added that the technology had benefits over rival systems that required a user to install external sensors in their room to detect their movements.
And he suggested that going wireless would prevent an owner being “jolted” out of their experience because they had reached the limit of the cord used to transmit data from a PC or games console.
However, he acknowledged that one trade-off of relying on wi-fi would be that the computer involved would take slightly longer to respond to a user’s actions – something that might concern gamers.
Microsoft has pledged to support the headset in a forthcoming version of Windows 10.
One expert said Project Alloy had promise, but it might only have limited appeal.
“Having a real-time rendition of your hands or other objects in VR could have appeal to enterprise applications, such as a surgeon training with a body diagram or a mechanic having graphics overlaid onto an engine part,” said Ed Barton, from the technology consultancy Ovum.
“But when it comes to gaming, there hasn’t been much clamour to be able to see your hands in real-time.
“Vive, for example, has addressed the issue with special controllers. It’s not something that people have been crying out for.”
The unveiling of Project Alloy comes seven months after Intel disclosed some of its other VR and AR efforts.