Intel’s Project Alloy headset concept was announced in August 2016 as a wireless, inside-out tracking virtual reality device. At CES 2017, Intel has shown Project Alloy for the first time, and according to those that have had a chance to try it, it’s spectacular.
Project Alloy uses Intel RealSense, a technology containing a small camera array, that allows the headset to scan a room to make a 3D map. That 3D map can then have computer generated graphics layered onto it to create an immersive 3D experience. This also allows a type of guardian mode that doesn’t use an intrusive grid to let you know your boundaries. Instead, Project Alloy can display obstacles in your way on the headset and make them another part of the experience.
Besides the Intel RealSense 3D room scanning, the other innovation Project Alloy is attempting to bring to the market is wireless connectivity. Without being tethered to a computer via USB and HDMI, an entire building could become a VR experience. The game Intel used to demo Project Alloy did just that. A mock apartment was scanned with RealSense in a minute, took another minute to turn the scanned objects in the room into game elements, and a regular living space was filled with rusty pipes and sci-fi adornments.
Although we probably won’t see Project Alloy this year, it sounds like Intel’s attempt at entering the virtual reality marketplace is offering the features we want to see in the next generation of VR headsets. The Project Alloy developer kit will be available in the latter half of this year, though no price tag has been announced.