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New Qualcomm AR Glasses Design Pulls Power From Your Smartphone

qualcomm ar reference design xr2 wireless ar smart viewer presser
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Qualcomm has officially announced a new reference design for AR glasses, intended to be powered by Snapdragon chips in phones. In fact, based on the announcement, the new concept can be powered by phones, Windows PCs, and processing pucks. Bringing truly augmented reality wirelessly to users, with the goal of scaling “AR to the masses.”

The new design — dubbed the Wireless AR Smart Viewer — manages to accomplish that without a lot of extra hardware. Instead relying only on a Snapdragon XR2 chip in the glasses themselves.

Additionally, compared to previous AR reference designs, the new platform is 40-percent thinner and boasts a more balanced weight distribution.

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The company also says that SeeYA is responsible for the display technology. Specifically, a dual micro-LED binocular display with 1920 x 1080 resolution per eye. The framerate hits up to 90Hz with a “no-motion-blur” feature. The latter technology helps to keep the experience with the glasses immersive.

For cameras, Qualcomm centered the new design around dual monochrome cameras and a third RBG camera. Those deliver 6DoF head and hand tracking with gesture recognition.

How does this work, according to Qualcomm?

Setting aside the included features, the design is even more impressive in terms of how it works. Namely, by using the latest Qualcomm chips in the smartphone or PC with Wi-Fi 6 or 6E paired with Bluetooth. Those are, conversely, paired with Qualcomm’s FastConnectXR Software Suite — via FastConnect 6900 for the reference design.

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All of that comes together to allow distributed workloads between the source device and an app, and the glasses themselves. With the smartphone handling the bulk of the work and sending images back to the glasses. The glasses primarily only handle tracking of users’ heads and hands for interactions.

The method, according to Qualcomm, allows better control over latency, coming in at under 3ms. In addition to helping reduce jitter and do away with “unwanted interference.”

You can’t actually use Qualcomm Wireless AR Smart Viewer glasses, regardless of whether you have a Snapdragon-powered phone or not

Now, as noted above, the new design really serves as a proof of concept. In effect, showing hardware manufacturers a route toward a potential final design using available technologies in a device they can use as a reference. Qualcomm has also indicated that it is sampling the new design to “select OEMs.”

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That means that products built around the platform could arrive sooner than later. Especially with Qualcomm confirming that the Wireless AR Smart Viewer reference design will have wider availability “in the coming months.”