Qualcomm enables ‘XR smart viewer’ augmented reality smartphone apps

Qualcomm enables ‘XR smart viewer’ augmented reality smartphone apps

Qualcomm has unveiled a new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR Smart Viewer reference design that makes it easier for hardware companies to create lightweight augmented reality glasses.

Qualcomm made the announcement ahead of the Augmented World Expo (AWE) event in Santa Clara, California. With this design, AR glasses can become smart viewers for AR content that is stored on a smartphone.

Inside these glasses, very little to no processing is happening. The lightweight glasses have high-resolution displays, as well as sensors that can track movement, hands, and eyes. But the glasses are connected via a wire to a smartphone or a computing puck. The processing happens in a device that is connected to the glasses, said Hugo Swart, head of XR at Qualcomm, in an interview with GamesBeat.

“We call it a simple viewer, with very limited processing done on the headset,” Swart said. “All the work is done on the phone or puck or PC. There are benefits to distributing the load on what you carry in the body and what you have in the head. So you can put a smaller Snapdragon chip on the headset to do 6DoF tracking and eye tracking and 3D reconstruction and movement and hand tracking.”

“Many operators have launched 5G networks already today,” Swart added. “The Nreal AR glasses paired with a smartphone are a very common use case that the operators are promoting.”

The reference design, built with the help of GoerTek, will enable a lot of manufacturers of smart glasses to jump into the space with AR and an VR smart viewers, Swart said.

“Our strategy is to build a chip, the XR1, with its software, and then a reference design,” he said. “When we bring a reference design out, the industry will pick it up and show it in commercial products at a later date.”

The Snapdragon Smart Viewer Reference Design features six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) movement for room scale XR experiences. With two dedicated 6DoF cameras for body tracking, users can walk around without the need for external motion sensors.

It also has full support for hand tracking and gesture tracking — with tap, zoom, pinch, and scroll features — which could be used for interactions with virtual objects. Read more

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