Yesterday, Qualcomm Technologies announced its virtual reality development kit based on the Snapdragon 835 System-on-Chip, dubbed VRDK. The company will launch its new VR headset reference design in partnership with Leap Motion, and promotes an all-in-one wireless solution for the next generation of mobile VR applications.
With new advancements in VR technology and application development, Qualcomm claims that advanced heterogeneous mobile chipsets such as the Snapdragon 835 SoC can provide a powerful all-in-one VR solution requiring no fans or cable. Sure enough, the company’s reference design HMD (head-mounted-display) is equipped with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and also takes advantage of an USB 3.1 Type-C connector. The Snapdragon 835 VRDK houses an AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, complete with eye tracking technology provided by two monochromatic VGA global shutter cameras. The HMD is also equipped with 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 64 GB of Flash memory, an integrated Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec, and a trackpad on the right side of the headset for navigation controls.
Furthermore, the headset takes advantage of Leap Motion’s hand tracking technology and offers six degrees of motion tracking backed up by a ‘Sensor Core’ inertial measurement unit integrated within the Snapdragon 835 chipset. According to the press release, the SDK (software development kit) gives application developers easy access to the necessary tools – including the Snapdragon Sensor Core and Qualcomm Hexagon DSP - for creating "responsive and immersive experiences with six degrees of freedom'. Other technologies “crucial for an ultimate VR user experience” are bundled with the SDK, including stereoscopic rendering with lens correction, fast motion to photon for decreased latency, as well as foveated rendering, which allows the headset to sense the user’s viewing direction and improve visual fidelity in focused areas. Additionally, the platform also takes advantage of VR layering to reduce distortions when generating menus and overlays. As to when the VRDK reference design HMD will be available, Qualcomm announced that the platform will launch through the Qualcomm Developer Network, and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) will be able to acquire it in the second quarter of 2017. The company also expects all-in-one VR OEM devices based on the Snapdragon 835 SoC to hit the shelves sometime in the second half of 2017.