Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 to power augmented reality experiences

The Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 is a new AR platform

Highlights
  • The Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 is a new AR platform that includes an AR processor, AR co-processor, and connectivity platform.
  • The platform also features Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 connectivity system.
  • The company is building an AR ecosystem by offering a suite of perception technologies and software tools.

Qualcomm was among the first to realise the potential of XR, or mixed reality, which combined AR and VR capabilities. And its bet paid off as it’s the leading chipset provider for headsets from the brands like Meta. Now, Qualcomm is setting its eyes on augmented reality as it has just pulled the curtains off a purpose-built AR platform, dubbed Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1.

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Since AR is meant for augmenting the world around us instead of immersing us in a different environment, it’s important for AR devices to be as thin and portable as possible. Thanks to a multi-chip architecture with customised IP blocks, the debut AR chipset promises 2.5x better AI performance and 50 percent lower power consumption (<1W). This will enable high-performance AR capabilities in a sleek form factor of glasses.

The multi-chip architecture includes an AR processor, AR co-processor, and connectivity platform. To keep the AR glass compact, the chipset also intelligently offloads the complex processing requirements to smartphones, PC, or other compatible host devices.

The AR processor can support nine concurrent cameras in terms of sensory capabilities. Then there’s the AR co-processor that aggregates camera and sensor data for eye tracking and iris authentication. With a dedicated hardware acceleration engine, the processor promises improved user motion tracking and localisation. Then there’s an AI accelerator for reducing latency for hand tracking or 6 DoF (degrees of freedom).

The platform also features Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 connectivity system. This makes it the first chipset for AR glasses that supports the next-gen Wi-Fi 7 standards and comes with <2ms latency between the AR glasses and the host device.

Qualcomm is also focusing on building an AR ecosystem by offering not just the chipset, but a suite of perception technologies and software tools. Both the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platforms are Snapdragon Spaces Ready. The chipmaker also highlighted how Microsoft worked closely with it to refine the features and capabilities of Snapdragon AR2.

Disclosure: this writer is attending Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui, Hawaii on Qualcomm India’s invitation