Making smart glasses seems like an ambitious project especially for a tech generation that is not quite ready to put high-end technology right in front of its eyeballs. The division behind Intel's Vaunt smart glasses project is being shut down by the tech giant. Reason: the division couldn't catch enough eyeballs, ironically, in the wearables market globally. Started in 2013, Intel's New Devices Group division used up five years and millions of dollars to try and make an impact with fitness trackers and smart glasses.
Showcased back in February this year, Intel's latest Vaunt smart glasses seemed like a promising gadget. The design made them look like regular glasses, devoid of any touch controls, buttons, cameras, and the likes. A red, monochrome 400x150 pixels image is projected in front of your eyes using a low-powered class one laser. But all that is now in the past as Intel has stopped production on any of the products in the division. The Information reports that almost 200 employees from the New Devices Group might be potentially laid off if no role is found for them in other Intel divisions.
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 [codename for 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."
Vaunt project is yet another failed attempt for Intel to try and diversify outside its successful chip business. The New Devices Group, responsible for Vaunt, had its fair share of acquisitions and partnerships but crumbled under the disappointing sales in the wearables market. Last year, the division starting shedding off employees and R&D projects but failed to recover lost ground.