As the smartphone industry begins to mature, tech industry leaders continue to throw their hats into different product categories. In particular, the Virtual Reality (VR) sector has enjoyed a tremendous boon lately as numerous companies have either launched new VR hardware or plan to do so at some point in the near future. Samsung, HTC, Google, Facebook, and Sony are just some of the major tech companies making waves in VR technology, but they aren't the only notable players. According to a recent report, Intel, one of the world's largest chip makers, is currently developing an augmented reality (AR) headset to compete within the steadily growing AR and VR markets.
The headset will reportedly take advantage of Intel's Realsense 3D imaging technology, which is capable of accurately measuring depth and motion within a user's immediate surroundings. With those advanced imaging capabilities in tow, the headset could have any number of commercial applications for prospective companies looking to compete in the growing AR market (e.g. enhanced gaming capabilities or simulated virtual assistants). According to the report, Intel won't likely bring their own headset to market, instead focusing their efforts on selling the new hardware to other companies looking to get involved in the AR sector.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality aren't exactly one-and-the-same, with notable differences that distinguish the two classes of technology. VR technology primarily works by creating a simulated virtual field that the end user can interact with in a detailed and immersive way. Consequently, VR headsets stimulate user senses like hearing and vision in order to manipulate the user's perceived reality and how they interact with it. By contrast, AR technology renders layers of virtual data on top of the user's real-time field-of-view, allowing the user to interact with those superimposed layers while being fully aware of the real time elements of their surroundings. If and when Intel makes their new headset official, they'll be competing with major companies like Microsoft who already has its own AR headset in the form of Hololens. At the moment, the headset remains in the development stage, so there's no official timetable for when consumers might see the hardware for themselves.