Google is making a play for virtual reality with the Daydream platform, but the company is said to be working on a separate project that combines both VR and AR into a standalone headset that doesn’t require a smartphone or a computer. According to a report from Engadget, citing people familiar with the matter, the unnamed headset will introduce eye-tracking technology capable of mapping out the real-world space in front of users.
The end result will supposedly blur the line between virtual and augmented reality, displaying digital objects alongside environments and objects from the real world — not unlike what Microsoft is doing with HoloLens. There’s little else in the way of details at this point but the report claims some components powering the device are being provided by Movidius, the computer vision company that Intel is acquiring for an undisclosed sum.
A separate report from The Drum point to a recent FCC filing for a “wireless virtual reality” prototype that operates between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequencies, that lists Mike Jazayeri, director of product management for Google's VR group, as a contact, though Engadget does note that there’s not enough evidence to tell if this is the headset in question.
While VR headsets are just starting to hit the market in their consumer-ready form, many in the tech industry believe the future might be in "mixed reality."
Magic Leap is working on a similar concept and Apple has dropped some hints about this being an area of interest. On that note, Robert Scoble posted a fairly speculative piece about this on Medium a couple of days ago that’s worth a read. It offers some hints — based on research — of how Apple expects to get in on the VR market.