Intel Cancels Alloy Plan As Microsoft Locks Up Partners

by Ian Hamilton • September 22nd, 2017

Earlier this year we tried out Project Alloy from Intel — a  reference design standalone headset that could identify its location without any external hardware required.

The system was essentially a PC pushed into the form factor of a head-mounted display and used Intel’s computer vision depth-sensing hardware and software to pinpoint its location. Microsoft, however, used the technology it pioneered with HoloLens to lure a series of PC manufacturing partners into developing VR headsets based on its tracking technology. This likely left little reason for Intel to continue Alloy.

Microsoft also debuted hand controllers that do a solid job when in view of the headset’s wide-angle cameras, with less accurate estimation when they are out of view. Intel was working with a solution from Ximmerse for similar functionality, but when we demoed Alloy at CES in January we were instead given controllers which could only be tracked with a limited range of movement. It was awkward.

The news of the Alloy cancellation was first reported by RoadToVR but we independently confirmed the news and received the following statement from Intel:

Intel has made the decision to wind down its Project Alloy reference design, however we will continue to invest in the development of technologies to power next-generation AR/VR experiences. This includes: Movidius for visual processing, Intel® RealSense™ depth sensing and six degrees of freedom (6DoF) solutions, and other enabling technologies including Intel® WiGig, Thunderbolt™, and Intel® Optane™. All of these Intel technology solutions are supported by a robust portfolio of software capabilities, and we’re building out a VR support ecosystem, from software design kits to reference designs, to spur innovation that’s enabling rich and immersive content. Project Alloy served as a great proof of concept for Intel and the industry – showing what’s possible in a high-performance, immersive and untethered VR experience. What we’ve learned through Project Alloy will inform future efforts.

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  • VR Geek

    Super disappointed to learn this. I feel like this next crop of HMDs this fall and winter are just not moving VR forward. VR feels stagenent. Very stagenent. Sure things are trending in the right direction, but I am not seeing anything that is going to drive more adoption. We need a inside out tracking, mobile, 6 DOF controller that is easy to use to drive things forward. We seem to be at least 1 more year away from that. Did I miss something? I know Qualcomm, Google and Oculus are all working on something like this, but unless one of them makes a surprise announcement this year, it is just not going to happen. Sigh.

    • daveinpublic

      Maybe they’re selling their inside out tracking to another company like Sony or something.

    • Mane Vr

      how r they not moving vr forward? they have higher res. inside out tracking… I think u r asking for too much too fast it’s like asking for an iPhone in the early 90’s

      • VR Geek

        It is not me that is asking. I am already heavily invested in VR. I am speaking about the general publics needs. Most people I know love VR and the promise it can deliver, and while they all loved the ViVe/Rift when I demo, they all agree that it needs to get easier to use, and better before they jump in. How long do you all feel VR/AR/MR will take to hit mainstream?

        • Mane Vr

          Another 5 to 10 years before it goes mainstream… this point should be use to guide devs to making better games. So i don’t think we going to c bog hardware changes for the next 3yrs

    • Tommy

      Let’s face it.
      VR just isn’t going to be mass adopted as everyone expected.
      The hype has died down and many VR companies has shut down.
      The only ones remaining are the ones with enough $ left, or are just barely pulling through.

      • Onyx Blue

        Not true mate. This has nothing to do with adoption. VR is booming it is just early days.

    • RFC_VR

      4 Oct? standalone Worldsense hmd’s with Qualcomm 835VR SOC and Daydream controllers.

  • Onyx Blue

    The industry is in infancy. VR will progress alongside advances in graphics processing and CPUs and further reduced costs of current tech overall. Tech industry is about to shift once more… the entire industry is about to enter into a new cycle. 2020 is knocking