Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon X1 platform for augmented and virtual reality devices at an Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara on Tuesday, with Meta and Vuzix among the first manufacturers.
With optimized power consumption and thermal efficiency for interactive AR experiences, the XR1 combines an ARM-based multi-core CPU (Central Processing Unit), a vector processor, a graphics processing unit (GPU), and an AI machine-learning engine for pose classification and image recognition. Snapdragon will also provide an XR software service layer, the Snapdragon XR Software Development Kit (SDK), as well as connectivity and security technologies for the platform.
The Snapdragon XR1 supports 4K resolution for VR displays and incorporates the Company's Spectra Image Signal Processors (ISP) into the industry Playback of high-quality AR content. The platform also provides hardware acceleration in display processing for editing 3D content, advanced image processing capabilities to facilitate AR features such as visual inertial geometry (VIO) for pose estimation, and head tracking support. On the audio side, the platform enables high-fidelity audio and voice commands for virtual assistants.
"The more technology evolves and demand increases, the greater the likelihood that XR devices will play a bigger role. The daily lives of workers," said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, Mobile Business Unit Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., in a statement. "By integrating powerful visuals, high-fidelity audio and rich interactive experiences, XR1 will help create a new era of high-quality, mainstream consumer XR devices."
While Meta's plans at the time of release, Vuzix today worked out how it will use the Snapdragon XR1. The company will incorporate the platform into its next-generation blade and enterprise-focused M-Series smart glasses in 2019.
"Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR1 platform will help Vuzix improve our AR Smart Glasses in terms of energy efficiency and smoother user experience overall system performance," said Paul Travers, president and chief executive officer of Vuzix, in a statement , "Qualcomm's XR1 platform combined with other leading technologies will enable Vuzix to provide waveguides to the next-generation Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses without sacrificing overall performance."
Using a dedicated chipset with features tailored to meet the needs of augmented reality experiences is an important step in developing AR hardware. The XR1 promises processing power and battery efficiency to accommodate AR content for extended periods of time. In return, manufacturers will be able to produce displays, optical motors, and batteries with a smaller footprint that allows for a shape. In short, Moore's Law is in the works.