Home Technology Qualcomm has a new reference headset to help fast-track AR development

Qualcomm has a new reference headset to help fast-track AR development


Qualcomm pulled again the curtain on a combined actuality headset design primarily based on its high-powered XR2 chipset around this time last year, nevertheless it nonetheless isn’t carried out with the processor that precedes that one. The corporate introduced immediately that it’ll launch a brand new, XR1-powered headset reference design, and normal, you’ll most likely by no means be capable to get your arms on certainly one of these items. It’s being distributed to “choose companions” proper now, and the subsequent batch of XR {hardware} builders will be capable to declare theirs within the coming months.

Inbuilt partnership with long-time {hardware} accomplice Goertek, the brand new reference headset packs a pair of 1080p micro-OLED shows that assist body charges as much as 90Hz, together with an 8-megapixel digicam with picture stabilization and two monochrome cameras for head and hand monitoring. And since this headset is what Qualcomm refers to as a “sensible viewer” — versus the less complicated, tethered exterior shows we’ve seen up to now — it shares the computational load with its host gadget. Because of on-headset optimizations for duties like gesture recognition and graphics processing, this divvying up of tasks can assist cut back energy consumption on the related cellphone or PC by as much as 30 %.

Qualcomm XR1 reference headset displaying virtual app windows


Curiously, this reference design isn’t the primary headset we’ve seen to pack Qualcomm’s XR1 this yr — Lenovo introduced its enterprise-focused ThinkReality X3 glasses at CES 2021, which could be related to PCs and “choose Motorola smartphones”. Builders can anticipate comparable gadget compatibility from Qualcomm’s new headset, although the corporate notes it’ll additionally play good with standalone “processor pucks.”

Whereas it might sound uncommon for Qualcomm to push out one other reference design for a chipset that’s two years previous — and significantly much less potent than the XR2 revealed simply final yr — it’s an vital step towards standardizing expectations for the primary wave of mixed-reality sensible viewers. When related to a PC, as an example, Qualcomm’s headset can render a number of digital shows, so customers can pin app home windows to the house in entrance of their faces. The identical goes for smartphones, too: along with working immersive, tailored cellular AR software program, the corporate’s 2D app framework permits bog-standard Android apps to run in floating home windows across the person.

Finally, Qualcomm goals to develop absolutely self-contained AR headsets, full with built-in 5G, a course of Qualcomm XR Vice President Hugo Swart expects will take just a few years. Till then, reference designs just like the one introduced this morning proceed to serve an vital objective: giving fledgling {hardware} builders a basis to assist them construct the headsets and software program to make XR units really price utilizing proper now.


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