Purpose-built headworn AR platform aims to revolutionize AR glasses

Purpose-built headworn AR platform aims to revolutionize AR glasses

New Products |
By Rich Pell

Semiconductor and wireless technology provider Qualcomm Technologies has unveiled what it says is groundbreaking AR technology that will unlock a new generation of sleek, highly capable glasses. The Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 Platform, says the company, was built from the ground up to revolutionize the headworn glass form factor and usher in a new era of spatial computing experiences for the real-world/metaverse mix.

To help create the thinnest possible, high-performance AR glass, the company built a multi-chip distributed processing architecture combined with customized IP blocks. The main processor occupies a 40% smaller2 PCB area on glass and the overall platform delivers 2.5x better AI performance while consuming 50% less power to help achieve AR glasses that consume less than 1W power, enabling rich AR experiences on glasses that can be comfortably worn for extended periods of time and meet the demands of both consumers and enterprise use cases.

“We built Snapdragon AR2 to address the unique challenges of headworn AR and provide industry-leading processing, AI and connectivity that can fit inside a stylish form factor,” says Hugo Swart, vice president of XR product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “With the technical and physical requirements for VR/MR and AR diverging, Snapdragon AR2 represents another metaverse-defining platform in our XR portfolio to help our OEM partners revolutionize AR glasses.”

To better balance the weight and decrease the arm width on either side of the glasses, Snapdragon AR2 uses a multi-chip architecture that includes an AR processor, AR co-processor and connectivity platform. Snapdragon AR2 dynamically works to distribute the processing of latency-sensitive perception data directly on the glasses and offloads more complex data processing requirements to a Snapdragon-powered smartphone, PC or to other compatible host devices.

The AR processor is optimized for low motion-to-photon latency while supporting up to nine concurrent cameras for user and environmental understanding. Its enhanced perception capabilities include a dedicated hardware acceleration engine that improves user motion tracking and localization, an AI accelerator to reduce latency for sensitive input interactions such as hand tracking or 6DoF, and a reprojection engine for a smoother experience. 

The AR co-processor aggregates camera and sensor data and enables eye tracking and iris authentication for foveated rendering, to optimize workloads only where the user is looking. This helps reduce power consumption.

The connectivity platform utilizes the company’s FastConnect 7800 connectivity system to unlock the world’s fastest Wi-Fi 7 technology available and reaches less than 2ms latency between the AR glasses and the smartphone or host device. Embedded support for the FastConnect XR Software Suite 2.0 enables better control of XR data to improve latency, reduce jitter and avoid unwanted interference.

To allow developers to build incredible headworn AR applications, says the company, Snapdragon AR2 and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Platform are optimized to be Snapdragon Spaces Ready. The Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform is designed to be the foundation that will pave the way for developers to reimagine headworn AR content and help propel the entire AR glass segment.

Qualcomm Technologies

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