Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon XR1 AR Smart Viewer reference design, which will help hardware designers create powerful AR smart glasses for the consumer and enterprise markets.
Qualcomm's new AR Smart Viewer reference design is based on the company's Snapdragon XR1 platform. But unlike the XR1 VR reference design, which places the processing power inside the headset, the AR Smart Viewer reference requires an XR1 powered host device to do the heavy lifting.
AR smart viewers differ from AR simple viewers in that they include onboard processing hardware. AR simple viewers entirely rely on the tethered host device to handle the processing. AR smart viewers split the processing load between the host device and the viewer device. Qualcomm said this approach not only increases performance but also reduces overall power consumption.
Qualcomm's AR smart viewer reference design includes app frameworks as well as reference hardware. Qualcomm's 2D app framework allows smartphone applications, including protected content from streaming services, to function in 3D environments, complete with spatial anchoring to pin apps in your environment.
Qualcomm's Smart Viewer design is also compatible with Windows 10. Tethering to a PC would also give you access to multiple windows in 3D space, allowing you to see a multi-screen working environment through the lenses.
Qualcomm's reference design includes support for multiple cameras with a variety of functions. A pair of monochrome cameras provide spatial tracking capabilities, including 6-DoF head tracking and hand tracking with gesture recognition. The smart viewer can also record or stream a first-person view which can be used for remote assistance.
"The Snapdragon XR1 AR smart viewer marks a new chapter for our reference design portfolio and a big step in the evolution of AR viewers," said Hugo Swart, vice president and general manager of XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "AR simple viewers showcased viewers as an accessory to a smartphone. Now, AR smart viewers allow us to move some processing to the glass, to expand the possibilities of use cases, applications and immersion - this reference design is the first step in our roadmap to help scale the AR industry."
Qualcomm worked with a handful of partners in the development of the AR smart viewer reference design. Microsoft, Lenovo, and Nreal all had a hand in steering its direction. Nreal's smart glasses are a product of Qualcomm's reference program, as are Lenovo's ThinkReality A3 smart glasses.