Intel is reportedly the latest technology giant jumping on the virtual / augmented reality bandwagon. The chipmaker is actively developing an augmented reality headset based on its RealSense 3D camera technology according to sources familiar with the matter as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Rather than market the device itself, sources say Intel aims to license the design to third-party manufacturers. None of the sources the Journal spoke with were aware of any partners Intel may have lined up for the headset.

Achin Bhowmik, vice president of Intel's perceptual computing group, wouldn't discuss unannounced development efforts but said Intel has a tradition of creating prototype devices to help convince customers (manufacturers) to use its components.

If true, the development isn't all that surprising. As the publication notes, Intel has acquired at least five companies involved in the augmented reality space and has invested in others. Wall Street Forensics chief analyst Matt Margolis estimates that Intel has spent more than $300 million – and perhaps as much as $500 million – in acquisitions and investments.

Brian Mullins with Los Angeles startup Daqri said there is an awareness at Intel that they didn't play as big a role in the mobile space as they would have liked, sentiments I've echoed in the past. As such, Mullins said they understand that wearables and augmented / virtual reality are the next big platforms.

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