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Qualcomm launches Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1, taking augmented reality glasses to another level

By Liu Hongzuo - on 17 Nov 2022, 7:00am

Qualcomm launches Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1, taking augmented reality glasses to another level

Qualcomm Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1.

Qualcomm today (16 November 2022, Hawaiian Time) announced the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 platform on the second day of its annual Snapdragon Summit. 

The Snapdragon AR2 is Qualcomm’s answer to the growing demand for augmented reality headgear. Touted as “the world’s first purpose-built head-worn augmented reality platform”, Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 contains AR processing technology with a build suited for sleek, smart glasses form factors. 

To make the AR 2 Gen 1 processor as thin as possible, Qualcomm used a multi-chip, distributed processing architecture with customised IP blocks. The architecture resulted in a PCB with 40% smaller area (when compared to Qualcomm’s Wireless AR Smart Viewer Reference Design that used Snapdragon XR2). 

The reduced size still pushes out 2.5x better AI performance using 50% less power (less than 1W power). The combination of reduced sizes, higher performance throughput, and lower power consumption makes it possible to build AR smart glasses, instead of the conventional, bulkier AR headgear in the market.

Some features of the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 include dynamic workload distribution, which spreads out computing workloads. For example, the AR2 Gen 1 processes latency-sensitive data on the smart glass gadget itself, while it sends complex data to a Snapdragon-powered mobile phone, PC, or other compatible host devices for AR headgear.

Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 can support up to nine concurrent cameras for user and environmental understanding. Helping with that motion-to-photon latency in processing such data are hardware acceleration (for user motion and tracking), an AI accelerator for latency reduction and sensitive inputs (e.g. hand tracking or 6DoF), and a reprojection engine for smoother feeds.

Other supported tech includes eye tracking and iris authentication for foveated rendering, making it possible for the AR2G1 to optimise processing workloads where the user is looking directly at. This trick helps to lower power consumption in AR headgear. 

For connectivity, it uses the same FastConnect 7800 found in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, allowing Wi-Fi 7 connectivity under 2ms between the AR product and host device. To support FastConnect 7800, AR2G1 additionally has FastConnect XR Software Suite 2.0 for better control over extended reality (XR) data.

Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 is also Snapdragon Spaces-ready, which allows third-party developers an easier way to create AR and XR apps for AR glasses.

Qualcomm mentioned that Microsoft is a major partner in developing the requirements that guided Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1's platform, and added that OEMs developing AR2G1 gadgets include the likes of Lenovo, LG, Nreal, Oppo, Pico, Qonoq, Rokid, Sharp, TCL, Tencent, Vuzix and Xiaomi.

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