Archive for August 2016

Make Way for Merged Reality

Intel recently announced the development of a virtual reality headset that makes it possible for viewers to see nearby objects from the real world in an otherwise computer-generated view.

Intel will be offering the new technology to outside manufacturers at some point in 2017 and is not planning to sell the headsets itself.

paIntel’s efforts to develop this technology have been titled Project Alloy and the new product creates new opportunities for Intel to sell its RealSense depth-sensing cameras, Replay graphics-creation software and other proprietary inventions that may come in handy for virtual reality and augmented reality technology developers and manufacturers.

While Intel may have just thrown its name in the hat, the burgeoning VR industry has already become a race track featuring some major players including Facebook, HTC, Microsoft, Sony, and Apple.

That said, according to Intel’s chief executive Brian Krzanich, Project Alloy will likely prove competitive due to some unique features that it alone possesses and which threaten to “redefine what is possible with computing.”

One such example is the way that the Project Alloy headset cameras would make it possible for a user’s finger movements to appear in the virtual world and even manipulate virtual objects.

“Merged reality is about more natural ways of interacting with and manipulating virtual environments,” he explained in a blog. “[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.”

pa2Krzanich led an on-stage demonstration in which the hands of the wearer could be seen only if kept near the center of a user’s field of view. Krzanich’s own face was even able to appear within a VR world if he stood close enough to the wearer of the headset, though he showed up as a relatively low-res version of himself.

According to Big K, going wireless would it make it possible for an owner to avoid being jolted out of their VR experience due to the limit of their controller cords. That said, his system’s reliance on wi-fi would make any computer involved be just a bit slower in its response to a user’s actions, which could significantly lower the possible quality of a gamer’s experience.

Regardless, many developers are excited to see the fruits of Intel’s labors. Microsoft has even promised to support the new headset in the latest version of Windows 10. Ed Barton, a technology consultant with Ovum, had this to say about Project Alloy:

“Having a real-time rendition of your hands or other objects in VR could have appeal to enterprise applications, such as surgeon training with a body diagram or a mechanic having graphics overlaid onto an engine part. But when it comes to gaming, there hasn’t ¬†been much clamour to be able to see you hands in real time,” he pointed out.

“Vive, for example, has addressed the issue with special controllers. It’s not something that people have been crying out for,” he concluded.

That said, little is known for certain about the future of the VR industry and what people will be clamouring for.