The Intel Developer Forum kicked off with a flurry of sparks in San Francisco yesterday. Among the tech being revealed was the manufacturers take on a virtual reality headset.

Project Alloy – as Intel is calling it – is a combination of the type of VR we’ve come to know and lust after as well as what is best described as augmented reality. What’s most interesting about Alloy is that its an entirely self-contained unit.

While this could mean that users wouldn’t need a beefy PC, Intel wasn’t all that forthcoming with the hardware driving the headset.

What we do know however, is that the headset houses Intel RealSense technology. This allows the headset to merge the virtual world and the real world into one experience. “Through merged reality, see your hands, see your friends … see the wall you are about to run into,” Intel said of Alloy.

A demo model of Intel's self-contained, Project Alloy.
A demo model of Intel’s self-contained, Project Alloy.

Users would essentially be able to interact with objects in the virtual world using their hands, without the need for a controller. This would go a long way to making VR more immersive than it currently is.

The most important part of Project Alloy however is its sensors. The sensors, combined with the RealSense cameras would make it possible to safely navigate through your home while wearing the headset.

This in itself is a leap forward in VR tech, eliminating the chore of having to mount base stations in your living room to track your movement. It also opens up huge possibilities for the tech, could you just imagine playing through a survival-horror game that uses your entire home, nay, town as its setting?

Now for the sad news

The Alloy hardware as well as the APIs for the ecosystem will be available to developers and Intel partners as an open platform in 2017.

Intel is giving devs and partners the opportunity to create their own products using the Alloy design which is actually terribly exciting considering that at the moment there are only really two options for those interested in VR.

Our hope that this spurs on development of the tech and VR becomes as ubiquitous and as easy as it is in the realm of smartphones.

[Image – Intel]