Technology

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1, Platform Designed for Augmented Reality Glasses

Qualcomm was one of the first electronics suppliers to show interest in reviving immersive technology: virtual reality as augmented reality. As a result, it is now the undisputed market leader, with its Snapdragon XR1 and XR2 chips running on every device available.

However, although the company has always stated its desire to use these two technologies in the same products, their fundamental differences mean that this strategy has reached its limit. Specifically, if virtual reality headsets are large enough to fit the same integrated circuit as a smartphone, this is not possible for glasses that want to be “thin and light”.

Therefore, Qualcomm developed a distributed architecture platform called Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1. After five years of research and development, it is divided into three separate components.

  • The first, located in the right branch of points, is called “AR Processor”. It controls the display in such a way as to have the lowest possible latency and includes a reprojection mechanism. It also takes care of perception through various sensors (including user and environment monitoring), which benefits from hardware acceleration. Up to nine cameras can be controlled.

  • The second is called the “augmented reality co-processor” and is located on the front of the glasses, at the level of the bridge of the nose. It manages the aggregation of data from various sensors, as well as gaze tracking (for foveal rendering) and iris recognition authentication.

  • Finally, in the left branch is a modem that provides communication, a special feature of Qualcomm. It is based on the FastConnect 7800 system that manages Wi-Fi 7 and provides less than 2ms latency between the glasses and the smartphone they are connected to.

Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 has 4nm engraving. The choice of distributed architecture reduces the PCB size by 40% and the number of wires by 45%. The rectangular shape of the PCB is also better suited for use in glasses (in branches).

The system draws less than one watt, and Qualcomm says it typically uses 50% less power than the XR2 Gen 1. In terms of performance, it doesn’t include a GPU as the graphics are handled by the host device that the glasses are connected to. connected. But according to specific calculations, which are really based on artificial intelligence, its performance is 2.5 times better than XR2 Gen 1.

Lenovo, LG, Niantic, Nreal, Oppo, Pico, QONOQ (Docomo), Rokid, Sharp, TCL, Vuzix, and Xiaomi are among the manufacturers already working on products that use the platform. According to Qualcomm, the first devices with it will hit the market in the second half of 2023. In terms of compatible phones, Honor, Motorola, Nubia, Oneplus, Oppo, Redmagic, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE have been confirmed. moment.

On the software side, the system will be powered by Snapdragon Spaces, which has also announced three new partners: Adobe, Microsoft and Niantic.

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