Intel’s VR And AR Project Alloy Headset Due For Release In 2017

CES 2017: Intel outlines IoT, 5G, and driverless car plans alongside virtual reality work

Intel’s standalone virtual reality headset, currently called Project Alloy, will be released by the end of the year due to the chipmakers plans to license the technology to other manufacturers.

Produced as an open platform, Project Alloy is a headset that enables both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) without the need to be connected to a powerful PC or games console or a reliance on external sensors.

This sets it apart from the growing number of VR headsets currently in the market that rely upon power from PCs or smartphones.

Handing production of Project Alloy to manufacturers should help Intel gets its chips and VR technology into the market without needing to worry about expensive production costs and sales and marketing.

Intel and VR

project-alloyBut Project Alloy is just one part of Intel’s move into VR. At CES 2017 it showcased its upcoming 10nm processors architecture dubbed Cannon Lake, which should have a small enough footprint yet enough processor power to run headsets such as Project Alloy.

To go alongside Project Alloy, Intel touted a partnership with computer vision company HypeVR to bring its volumetric video content, which allows viewers to move freely around live-action CGI video, to Intel’s all-in-one headset.

But Intel is not just tethered to its own VR hardware, as it demonstrated a live sports event streamed on its VOKE VR technology, using the Oculus Rift headset. The company detailed that it will bring VOKE VR to the Oculus Rift later in 2017, which should help expand the number of VR headsets upon which sports fans can watch live events, based on the technology Intel acquired when it bought VR startup Voke in 2016.

Intel targets self-driving cars and 5G

Volvo driverless carsOutside of VR, at CES 2017 Intel also revealed some of its work on autonomous cars and 5G.

It revealed that is would acquiring a 15 percent stake in HERE, the digital mapping company previously owned by Nokia and now majority owned by BMW, VW Group via Audi, and Daimler.

Taking a stake in HERE will give Intel the ability to tap into the mapping tech and data HERE has access to, which Intel plans to use to help with the development of a proof-of-concept architecture that supports the updating of high-definition maps in real-time for semi and fully autonomous driving.

Intel is also in a tie-up with Mobileye and BMW to bring 40 autonomous vehicles to the roads this year, in order to demonstrate the advances the three firms have made with their work in the autonomous driving arena.

Mixing cars with 5G, Intel introduced GO, a new brand for its automotive work, which includes the 5G-ready cloud-connected development platform so that carmakers can develop 5G based systems before the new wireless broadband grade is made readily available.

Go includes multiple development kit that scale in performance from the entry-level Atom processor through to server-grade Xeon chips, as well as cloud connectivity.

“This scalable car-to-cloud system puts the automotive industry on an accelerated path, offering tremendous flexibility in design while reducing the time and cost of bringing new experiences to market,” Intel’s Doug Davis, general manager of the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) division.

Intel also showcased what it claims to be the world’s first global 5G modem, which offers support for the sub-6GHz spectrum band and mmWave spectrum. Featuring a low-power chip kit and the ability to deliver gigabit speeds at low-latency, the modem has been designed to enable driverless cars to make rapid decisions. Furthermore, the modem adds connectivity options for emerging IoT uses such smart cities and drones, which will likely need to tap into the bandwidth 5G offers.

With the recently announced Atom E3900 chip, Intel looks to be hitting the IoT world from all sides in 2017.

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