The push for VR and AR technology in the past few years has resulted in a ton of new and impressive hardware products and concepts, and Qualcomm is again aiming for the top spot with its new Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 Platform, designed to provide impressive AR technology towards the development of more modern, sleek, and highly capable glasses. Qualcomm built the Snapdragon AR2 with the goal of improving spatial computing experiences for real-world and virtual usage.
Hugo Swart, Vice President of XR Product Management at Qualcomm, states:
“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. 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.”
Qualcomm has designed a multi-chip distributed processing architecture combined with customized IP blocks, aimed at creating slim and high-performance AR glasses. The main processor will occupy a 40% smaller PCB area on glass, while the overall platform will be able to deliver 2.5x better AI performance while consuming 50% less power, resulting in longer usage and power efficiency.
The AR2 also uses a multi-chip architecture that includes an AR processor, AR co-processor and connectivity platform for better weight distribution and a more compact design. It will work to distribute the processing of latency-sensitive perception data directly on the glasses, offloading more complex data processing requirements to a Snapdragon-powered smartphone, PC and other compatible devices.
Additionally, AR2 is optimized for low motion-to-photon latency while supporting up to nine concurrent cameras for user and environmental understanding, with enhanced perception capabilities like a dedicated hardware acceleration engine, an AI accelerator, and a reprojection engine for a smoother experience.
Snapdragon AR2 and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Platform are also optimized to be Snapdragon Spaces Ready. The Snapdragon SpacesTM XR Developer Platform is designed to push the way for developers to reimagine headworn AR content and help propel the entire AR glass segment.
Qualcomm has also collaborated with tech giant Microsoft on the development of the AR2 platform. As per Rubén Caballero, Corporate Vice President of Mixed Reality, Devices & Technology at Microsoft:
“Microsoft worked closely with Qualcomm on the platform requirements for Snapdragon AR2 to help define the purpose-built, foundational technologies to unlock new possibilities in AR experiences. Snapdragon AR2 platform innovations will revolutionize headworn AR devices that will transform immersive productivity and collaboration and we look forward to seeing the innovation that Qualcomm and its partners will bring to market.”
With all that said, AR technology and development is sure to get a lot more interesting, given these new software and hardware developments.