Intel shows helmet that gives you X-ray vision

The Daqri smart helmet is Intel's take on the much-hyped realm of virtual and augmented reality. And unlike Microsoft's HoloLens, it ships today. Also on deck: smart sunglasses from Oakley and a watch from New Balance.

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Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
2 min read
Watch this: Intel plans to make construction helmets safer

Intel may have raced past Microsoft to the augmented reality world.

The chip giant used its keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show to unveil the Daqri Smart Helmet, a hardhat developed by Daqri that uses Intel's RealSense 3D camera to offer a form of augmented reality -- technology that overlays computer images on the real world. Microsoft has generated a lot of attention for its focus on AR with its HoloLens, which has only seen limited demos.

Intel said on Tuesday that the Daqri Smart Helmet ships today.


Intel's new smart helmet using augmented reality.

James Martin/CNET

Powered by Intel's M7 chip and RealSense, Daqri's helmet brings it into the much-hyped market for virtual and augmented reality, which promises to take you to new worlds or add to your existing one through sophisticated head gear. It's an area that's attracted nearly ever major company in the tech industry, be it a phone maker like Samsung, a tech giant like Microsoft or an Internet company like Google and Facebook.

Intel is focused on augmented reality. The company showed off a kind of X-ray vision by letting a worker see through pipes that might be faulty, which can be picked up by its RealSense camera. The helmet could also be used to give workers digital directions on top of what they're looking at when doing manual labor.

It's one of the key examples Microsoft showed off with its own HoloLens gear. For its part, Microsoft intends to use the HoloLens for many different purposes, ranging from work to games and entertainment. The Daqri helmet is intended for the workplace.

Intel's vision of the smart future at CES 2016 (pictures)

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Powering athletes

It's not just workers. If you're an athlete, Intel hopes you'll eventually be wearing one of its chips.

Oakley and Intel showed off its Radar Pace, a pair of smart sunglasses that has a voice-activated coaching system. The eyewear is supposed to give real-time feedback and track the progress of an athlete. It's part of a broader deal with Italian eyewear giant Luxottica Group.

The software adjusts to different athletes, from novice runner to Iron Man competitor.

"Technology has dramatically changed the way athletes train," said Craig Alexander, three-time Iron Man champion, who went on stage to talk about the glasses.

New Balance CEO Robert DeMartini, meanwhile, also joined Krzanich to announce that the Boston-based athletic apparel company would develop a smart sport watch for the next holiday season.

"We're in the cusp of a breakthrough in sports," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.