Intel has now released a number of detailed renders of its Project Alloy headset, giving us our first up close look at the ergonomics of the wireless VR device. It has a unique headstrap design, as well as built in realsense cameras which offers up some interesting ideas for the reference headset’s potential.
Project Alloy was announced at last month’s IFA 2016 show, where Intel detailed the reference design as an “open hardware platform,” that would allow third parties to take it and create their own wireless VR headsets. It is quite different from the sorts of headsets we’ve been used to in the consumer space though, which should make its eventual release rather interesting.
For now though we’re just getting to grips with the untethered VR solution. Its lack of wires is an obvious starting point when it comes to examining it, but we can also see that the headstrap is mounted on the top/front of the headset, rather than with the added side straps we have seen on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Gear VR.
In fact, its strap system looks much more like the PlayStation VR than any others we have seen.
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The design has 10 exterior sensor points, though we suspect that the use of realsense cameras within the headset may be the real solution for positional tracking (and perhaps even Leap-like motion control). It may be that this headset can utilize both internal and external tracking systems for more third-party options, or better overall tracking accuracy.
That would unify the Alloy’s concept of an all-in-one solution, as being wireless, it includes all of the processing power it might need inside, along with a battery. Although the graphics processor is currently unknown, RoadtoVR has confirmed that there is a desktop class Core i7 processor in there somewhere.
Elsewhere on the headset, we have a pair of USB Type-C ports, a pair of buttons and an interpupillary distance dial for controlling the distance between the two displays this headset presumably uses. There also looks to be a 3.5mm headphone jack on the side.
We can guess that the battery for the device is located in the rear portion of the headband, and though we don’t have any specifications for it yet, we would imagine the battery, plus the inclusion of processing and memory capabilities, would mean this headset is heavier than a lot of consumer solutions available right now.
Chances are this is just an early version of the headset, as Intel says it does not plan to release it until the second half of 2017, which would likely be edging toward second-generation Rift and Vive territory.