Intel reportedly eyes AR headset development

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Intel may be set to explore an AR headset. Citing the source of the information as "people briefed on the company's plans," The Wall Street Journal had the story, saying "the chip giant is developing a wearable headset to deliver augmented-reality experiences."

San Francisco-based Don Clark with Orr Hirschauge, who covers startups and technology in Israel, filed the report earlier this week. Intel in the process will be making good use of its 3D camera technology called RealSense. Well, Intel calls it RealSense, and Intel tells everybody else, "You'll call it amazing."

Intel launched its RealSense system at CES in 2014. With RealSense, three cameras behave as one, a 1080p HD, infrared and infrared laser projector. They were engineered to function as the human eye does for sensing depth and tracking motion. Currently, RealSense products are featured in all in ones, laptops, tablets and 2-in-1 devices, said Intel.

eWeek's Jeffrey Burt said Thursday, "Intel has been developing the RealSense technology for several years and has shown its potential in an array of areas, including its use in drones to help the devices avoid collisions and navigate their environments."

The Wall Street Journal noted a recent Intel show of RealSense:
"At the CES show in January, Intel demonstrated the combination of RealSense with a smartphone-based headset from a startup called IonVR. It allowed users to see an image of their arms and hands as they reached out to touch simulated objects. Intel plans to show off mobile experiences at a conference later this month."

While many tech sites talk a lot about virtual reality and its coming impact on how we experience entertainment as well as informational content, augmented reality is finding its place in the basket of buzzwords too.

The two are not to be confused. Augmented reality superimposes information or images on a view of the real world, shown through a display. Virtual reality yanks you completely into another world. Or, as Ari Grobman of Lumus, an Israeli company, said last month in an AFP report, "Virtual reality takes you to another place, while augmented reality brings another place to you."

Should an Intel AR headset take off, expectations are that Intel will not manufacture such a wearable itself but will instead offer the design to other manufacturers. Ryan Whitwam in on Thursday: "Intel hasn't officially announced this project, but it has been branching out into virtual and augmented reality recently with acquisitions…If Intel continues with the rumored project, it would likely produce a reference device that other companies could license and bring to consumers."

A move by Intel to get involved in an AR headset would not at all surprise Rachel Metz in MIT Technology Review. In fact, she said, it would make sense. After all, technology majors (Microsoft, Google) are into projects. Also, she said, "Chances are, more companies are going to be entering the AR fray in the coming years."

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