Qualcomm prepares developers for the upcoming wave of smartphone-tethered AR glasses – The Road to VR

Today at AWE 2021, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform, a head-mounted AR software package that the company uses to kickstart a broader move toward smartphone-tethered AR glasses.

Qualcomm says its Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform offers a wealth of machine perception features ideal for smartphone-tethered AR glasses. The software toolkit focuses on performance and low power and provides the kind of environmental and human interaction stuff that it hopes will give AR developers a good starting point.

Still in early access, Qualcomm initially works with Felix & Paul Studios, holo | one, Overlay, Scope AR, TRIPP, Tiny Rebel Games, NZXR, forwARdgame, Resolution Games and Trigger Global. Snapdragon Spaces is scheduled for a more general release in the spring of 2022.

However, Qualcomm does not lead in itself. It has leveraged smartphone and AR hardware OEMs, including Lenovo, Motorola, OPPO and Xiaomi, as early partners to support what it calls a “horizontal platform and ecosystem across devices.” Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 smart glasses paired with a Motorola smartphone will be the first to work with Snapdragon Spaces.

When Qualcomm makes the push early next year, it will rely on its telecom partners, including Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, INC. And T-Mobile in the US; Qualcomm says more will be announced later.

Snapdragon Spaces allows developers to build 3D applications for AR glasses from scratch or simply add head-mounted AR features to existing Android smartphone applications to create a unified multi-screen experience between the 2D smartphone screen and the real world in 3D. ” says the company in a press release. “Developers will also receive a robust resource library that includes documentation, sample code, tutorials, knowledge bases, and tools to help accelerate their development.”

The company says its platform will include environmental understanding features such as spatial mapping and meshing, occlusion, plane detection, recognition and tracking of objects and images, local anchors and persistence, stage understanding, position tracking and hand tracking.

Image courtesy of Qualcomm Technologies

Snapdragon Spaces includes Unreal Engine and Unity SDKs and is based on OpenXR. It will also integrate with Niantic’s newly launched Lightship ARDK platform, something Qualcomm says will expand Lightship’s reach to “outdoor headboard use cases and inspire people to explore outside and to connect and play with others in real time through multi-player features . ”

Qualcomm further announced that it has acquired the team and “certain technology assets” from HINS SAS and its subsidiary for hand tracking and gesture recognition, Clay AIR. Wikitude, an AR technology provider, also joins Qualcomm, which includes the absorption of Wikitude’s AR user base of 150,000+ developers.

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