Intel abandons Vaunt smart glasses project

It's Google Glass all over again.

Intel is abandoning the development of smart glasses through the closure of the entire division dedicated to the next-generation technology.

Founded in 2013, the New Devices Group (NDG) will be closed, which The Information suggests may result in "some layoffs," potentially impacting hundreds of employees.

The smart glasses, dubbed Vaunt, were only revealed a few months ago.

Far less creepy than Google Glass, the headset had been designed to appear like normal glasses and worked by shining a laser directly into your retina to create holographic images.

Vaunt held promise in the augmented reality space, but it now appears that Intel has decided there simply is no market at present for smart glasses.

In a statement to The Verge, Intel said:

"Intel is continuously working on new technologies and experiences. Not all of these develop into a product we choose to take to market. The Superlight [Vaunt] project is a great example where Intel developed truly differentiated, consumer augmented reality glasses.

We are going to take a disciplined approach as we keep inventing and exploring new technologies, which will sometimes require tough choices when market dynamics don't support further investment."

It brings to mind the fate of Google Glass -- Google's answer to hands-free connectivity to the web. Futuristic, expensive, and requiring a fitting, the gadget eventually flopped due to consumer mockery, unease, and privacy concerns.

However, the tech giant wasn't completely ready to abandon its goals and from the ashes of failure redesigned Google Glass with a specific goal in mind -- the enterprise market.

In 2017, Glass was reset, rebranded as "Glass Enterprise," and resigned to become an aid for factory workers, doctors, and engineers.

See also: Intel debuts security solutions at the silicon level

Whether or not Intel will ever revisit the smart glass idea is up for debate. However, it seems unlikely in the near future as the closure of the unit was considered a "tough choice" prompted by market conditions.

Unless a true case for consumer-based smart glasses with widespread and accepted adoption is found, smart glasses may remain in the work-only field where they can be tailored to specific tasks and uses.

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