Project Alloy

On September 22, 2017 - Intel announced that they have terminated Project Alloy due to lack of partner interest

Contents

Introduction

Intel’s Project Alloy is a standalone HMD headset that lets the wearer bring the objects of the real world into the virtual reality space. The merged reality concept, under which Intel’s Project Alloy was developed, allows users experience the best of both virtual and augmented reality.

No wires, no external sensors, and immersive experience are the three key highlights of Intel’s Project Alloy HMD headset. The final price and the release date of the completed product are still unknown. It’s believed that Intel will, by the end of the year, roll out Alloy headsets for developers to explore and create applications.

Hardware

The Alloy HMD headset looks more like Microsoft’s HoloLens than the conventional virtual reality headsets. Those who have tried the headset claim it to be comfortable and not too heavy on the neck.

Software

Intel’s Alloy HMD headset has a vision processor, a 7th core processor, ultra wide-angle fisheye lenses, 2 RealSense cameras, sensors, and battery. The full specification of the final consumer headset was not revealed by Intel.

Features

Intel Project Alloy headset immerses the user into the virtual reality content and the sensors on the headset bring the exact replica of the real world objects into the virtual world. Some of the key highlights of the headset are:

Untethered

The first thing that grabs everyone’s attention about Alloy HMD is the wires; actually, it’s the lack of wires that people notice. There are no annoying wires that connect the HMD to the computer. The wearer can freely move about and experience the full potential of the immersive technology, without being concerned about how far he/she is from the computer. The headset is self-sustaining – the screen, sensors, battery, processor, and everything else, needed to power the unit is within the gadget.

With the wires out of the way, users can apply the 6DOF (Degree of Freedom) that Alloy provides, across a much larger space than the tethered sets. Freedom and safety are both guaranteed by the Alloy HMD. The untethered headset gives the user freedom to move about, while the feature that detects and avoids a collision in the real world, ensures the wearer explores the virtual world without running into objects in the real world.

Merged Reality

Alloy HMD merges the physical and virtual world with its RealSense technology. The objects in the physical realm can be picked up and used in the virtual space. Users don’t need a gamepad or controllers to operate the virtual hands; the Intel RealSense tech lets the wearer use real hands in the virtual space. The 3D cameras mounted on the HMD gadget detects and captures even the slightest movement of the fingers. The camera feeds the data to the processor, which allows the user to control the objects in the virtual world.

No External Sensors

Intel Alloy HMD makes the external sensors look like ancient antiques. Walking into a room specially fitted with external sensors to capture the wearer’s every move takes the fun out of virtual reality and augmented reality headsets. The Alloy HMD headset comes with RealSense cameras and sensors that do the job without the need of separate sensor-fitted rooms.

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017

Intel demoed Alloy HMD at CES 2017 in front of hundreds of tech enthusiasts, journalists, and developers. Its presentation included a demo of the headset, a sneak-peek into some of its key applications, and a live 360-degree video broadcast of the gadget.

History

Intel announced its foray into the world of virtual reality in 2016 and unveiled a working demo of its mixed reality Alloy HMD headset in 2017. During the presentation, the chip maker explained the main features of the headset and revealed its future plans.

Unanswered Questions

Even after the demo of Intel Alloy HMD headset, there are many unanswered questions. The prototype will become a fully functional product by the end of 2017 that much is clear. But it’s still a mystery as to who’ll manufacture the headset. Intel has made it clear that they aren’t making the product, instead, the license to produce the Alloy headset will be given to third party companies. The third party companies will produce and sell the headsets.

Who’ll make the immersive technology software? How will the Intel licensed headset stack up against other VR headsets in the market? Answers to these questions are yet to be revealed by Intel.

Cost

There are unconfirmed reports published in certain tech portals that the HMD headsets powered by Intel’s Alloy platform will have a price tag equivalent of a laptop. That is, an HMD headset may fall in the price range of $600 to $900.

References


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