The most recent attempt to make virtual reality more affordable and available comes from Intel and Microsoft. The two are working together to develop technology that could be used by product manufacturers as a basis for their own products. Intel’s current projects, Project Alloy and the RealSense camera, are major players in what the company calls “merged reality” (MR).

What is “Merged Reality”?

Intel places MR in a different category than augmented reality (AR). Users of the MR technology still interact with objects in the real world, like with AR. What sets it apart is that the interaction is done through a copy of the real world created by the technology. The MR technology does this by scanning the room you are in.

In the video above, you can see how other real world objects other than a user’s hands can come into play in an MR environment. This is another difference from products like the Oculus Rift controller that were made for a specific purpose. This also opens up realms of possibility within the realm of VR fitness.

How Does Merged Reality Come Into Play for My Workout?

The video also shows how the MR technology can be used as a tool for learning. Imagine a medical student using a syringe on a simulated patient. Imagine a basketball player practicing their free throws. Is there ever a time when we aren’t learning in our workouts? When we are fixing what we were doing wrong before and improving for next time? Intel’s Curie Module has already shown how their projects can be applied in more physical pursuits.

MR technology can scan gym equipment like barbells and machines and show you how to use them in its created environments. You could even look at a set of weights, and a pop-up could tell you how much it weighs and how it compares to your previous attempts at an exercise. MR technology can use your height and weight to track your movement in the room and highlight your errors. Or, provide you with an overlay of your vitals while you are running on the treadmill.

Where Do I Sign Up?

Unfortunately, Intel has stressed it isn’t creating MR products to sell. They are only building prototypes that other companies can use as a basis. We will have to wait until this brand of real-time, comprehensive MR workouts are possible. Intel’s track record in computing already inspires confidence, but the technology is still in the prototype stage.

– Osmond Arnesto

Have you seen a really cool VR experience you think we should know about? Leave a comment below so we can check it out!


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