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Intel ‘Alloy’ for VR

Intel has unveiled a new virtual reality reference design: Project Alloy, a cordless system the company says contains everything you need to have a VR experience.

It says the headset has the computational and graphics power necessary to create the virtual images and an internal battery for power, as well as 3D cameras and sensors powered by Intel’s RealSense motion tracking tech.

CEO Brian Krzanich told the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco that the device is capable of “merged reality,” which blends images from the real world like handheld objects into virtual environments. In a demo at a Project Alloy wearer used a physical dollar bill as a lathe to shave down a virtual block of gold in a VR environment.

“We believe the capability of Alloy and what it introduces is significant,” Krzanich said. “It gives the opportunity to merge the physical and virtual world together.”

Intel plans on making Project Alloy open source next year to let third parties build headsets. Intel says this type of merged reality technology should alleviate some concerns about VR headsets blocking out the real world and creating a potentially dangerous situation for users and other people in the room.

Intel and Microsoft are teaming up for mixed reality. Windows chief Terry Myerson announced Windows Holographic platform, with which developers can make and run mixed reality apps, will come to all Windows 10 PCs next year. That means that any VR or AR headset, and not just the Microsoft’s own HoloLens, will be able to run 3D and even standard, 2D apps designed for Windows 10, Myerson said. Intel and Microsoft are working together to release specifications for mixed reality-ready PCs and head-mounted displays.

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