Intel just announced its own virtual reality headset called Project Alloy, a VR competitor to the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and the forthcoming PlayStation VR headsets. But what separates the Alloy from the pack is that it’s completely wireless (the wire above is for capturing video for the demo) and it should give you complete spatial awareness without all the dongles the Rift and Vive currently require.
It does this using two of Intel’s RealSense cameras to continuously map your environment. It can even map your hands.
Intel calls the idea “Merged Reality,” essentially combining inputs from cameras around your environment into a virtual world. And Intel was able to pack everything—the processor, sensors, and controllers—into one cord-free headset.
During Intel’s demo, however, the RealSense camera didn’t seem quite as fluid as you’d hope, especially if it’s your primary means of reacting to the digital world around you. Intel says that its hardware will be open source in the second half of 2017 (ugh), so the headset won’t be available anytime soon. Intel is also working with Microsoft so Alloy can run Windows Holographic, the software which powers Hololens, according to Microsoft’s Terry Myerson. Microsoft says that Windows Holographic will also be released in an update for all Windows 10 PCs next year.