Mixed Reality Takes Center Stage at Intel Developer Forum

Carl Weinschenk

Virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR) are fairly familiar ideas. The former features the immersion of the participant in a non-real environment. The latter adds elements to the real environment of the user.

The new twist is mixed reality (MR) which, according to VentureBeat, is close to AR. The difference, the story suggests, is that the virtual objects in an MR scenario appear real to the viewer. Thus, an MR frame with a sofa would look real – and may lead a careless participant to end up in the emergency room. Here is another take on the subtle differences in approaches to the virtual world from The Techie Guy.

That brings us to the Intel conference. The company used the meeting to introduce Project Alloy, an all-in-one headset that comes with an Intel system-on-a-chip (SoC) and other elements necessary to create the platform. Project Allow will support 3D and 2D mixed reality apps offered by Microsoft Windows Holographic.

The other announcement at the forum also involved Microsoft. The Verge reports that Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, announced that Windows 10 PCs in the future will all support mixed reality applications.

Specifically, he said that all PCs next year will include a holographic shell matching the company’s HoloLens headset. Thus, he said, wearers using the system through the PCs will be able to interact with 3D and 2D images.

Last week, a mixed reality startup came out of stealth mode. Xperiel is set to combine the real and virtual worlds by letting users manipulate elements in the virtual world that have impact in the real one, according to EnterpriseTech:

Xperiel insists its platform can help unify the physical and virtual worlds to deliver ‘mixed reality experiences’ to consumers. Its platform is designed to provide the tools for building and hosting a web-based view of the world. The projected real-world web would connect hardware and software to IoT implementations. It also could be used to build cloud-based applications while delivering mixed reality applications to consumers across different operating systems or connected devices.

It sounds a bit foreboding. It also isn’t going away. The power of Microsoft and Intel is, of course, well known. Xperiel, which announced an initial $7 million funding round, is no slacker: It is backed by several Google board members, Sun Microsystems’ cofounder Andy Bechtolsheim and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the story says.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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