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Qualcomm Snapdragon AR2: Everything you should know about this AR Platform

On November 17, Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon AR2 Glasses, made of sleek, high-quality glasses. Qualcomm claims it is the world’s first head-worn device for augmented reality. The company announced this product less than a week ago in a press release and also with an introductory YouTube video.

Qualcomm is a tech company that has built innovative RF systems, processors, and connectivity devices. It is also a leading brand in the world of 5G – one of the technologies expected to power the metaverse.

In addition, Qualcomm builds connectivity solutions for remote areas, and its products are currently helpful for AI-powered systems like smart vehicles. Smartphone and laptop producers adopt Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor to deliver high-quality devices.

With the advent of the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 architecture, Qualcomm is taking a step further in the tech world. Also, the company is leading the way in augmented reality, a metaverse technology that is as important as virtual reality.

In this article, Sandstorm reviews everything you need to know about Qualcomm’s innovation. Likewise, readers will learn why this device is a new feat, not just for Qualcomm but for the metaverse industry.

Features of the Qualcomm Snapdragon AR2 Glasses

Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon AR2 device during the 2022 Snapdragon Summit held between November 15 – 17. Regarding the latest device, Hugo Swart, the vice president of XR product management, Qualcomm Technologies, said –

“We built Snapdragon AR2 to address the challenges of head worn AR and provide leading AI, processing, and connectivity that can fit inside a stylish form factor.” “With the technical and physical requirements for VR and AR diverging, Snapdragon AR2 is another metaverse-defining platform in our XR portfolio to help our OEMs revolutionize AR glasses.”

In addition, Rubén Caballero, Corporate VP of Mixed Reality, Devices & Technology, Microsoft, stated that – “Microsoft worked closely with Qualcomm on the requirements for Snapdragon AR2 to help define the purpose-built and foundational technologies to unlock new possibilities in augmented reality experiences.”

Rubén added that the Snapdragon AR2 platform innovations will revolutionize head-worn AR devices that will transform productivity and collaboration, and “we (Microsoft) look forward to seeing the innovative designs that Qualcomm and its partners will bring to market.”

Among the notable features of the Snapdragon AR2 glasses is that it uses a multi-chip system and is the first AR device to enable WiFi-7 connectivity.

Processing system

The Qualcomm Snapdragon AR2 consists of a three-chip system, including an AR processor, co-processor, and connectivity platform. These three chips help the device to effectively balance its weight, making it easier to decrease the arm width of the glasses on either side.

With three processors comes a better mode of operation. The device can distribute its work and focus on the most critical tasks. Snapdragon AR2 also can process latency-sensitive perception data efficiently.

So, it distributes all the AR vision and processing data to the glasses. At the same time, it offloads data that might require more complex processing requirements and space to its host smartphone or PC. By doing that, Snapdragon AR2 does not take on more tasks than necessary, and its power can last much longer.

Light as a pair of reading glasses

The distributed processing architecture of Snapdragon AR2 has helped it become the thinnest possible AR device available. Its central processor – the AR processor, occupies 40% less space than the standard printed circuit board (PCB) on glass. At the same time, the device contains 45% less wiring than regular architectures.

Accordingly, Qualcomm partners adopting the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 architecture can produce more competent AR Glasses than the regular one-chip architecture. Users can also wear the Snapdragon AR2 glasses comfortably for extended periods. Likewise, the straightforward and comfortable design makes the glasses suitable for personal and enterprise AR use cases.

Wi-Fi connectivity

Snapdragon AR2 features one of the latest connectivity systems by Qualcomm – the FastConnect 7800 connectivity. With the aid of this system, the device can unlock the fastest Wi-Fi technology today, Wi-Fi 7.

Wi-Fi 7 facilities light-speed data transfer of less than 2ms latency between Snapdragon AR2 and its host device. Put simply, when Snapdragon AR2 transfers data to a host device (or vice versa), it takes less than 2 milliseconds for the receiving device to process and finalize the data. So, users can be confident of a seamless augmented reality experience when their AR2 glass sends data to a host smartphone or laptop.

In addition, Snapdragon AR2 supports another Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity system built by Qualcomm. This added system primarily helps to improve latency when using extended reality (XR) by reducing or controlling unwanted interference with the XR data.

Power Usage

The Snapdragon AR2 Platform must maintain a tiny battery to remain as light as possible. Thus, Qualcomm built it to focus on the most critical tasks. The main tasks include delivering AR and XR experiences by overlaying digital information onto a user’s physical environment or displaying virtual objects in reality.

Its AR co-processor combines a camera and sensor data with eye tracking and iris authentication to focus on that task. The information it receives from those three helps it determine whether a user is looking into the device.

When the user’s eye is concentrated, it functions optimally and also reduces workload as soon as a user diverts his attention. With this design, Snapdragon AR2 consumes less than 50% of the power it initially needs at a time requires below 1watt power to function.

Qualcomm OEM partners

Like most innovations by Qualcomm, the company does not intend to produce and roll out AR glasses for the public. Rather, it has developed the Snapdragon AR2 and has given production rights to its OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) partners.

Some of Qualcomm’s OEMs include Sharp, Xiaomi, OPPO, LG, Lenovo, etc. According to reports, Snapdragon AR2 is in various stages of development with each of those companies. While the AR Glasses consumers receive might carry other brand names, they still incorporate Snapdragon AR2’s architecture and design.

This innovation by Qualcomm is another proof that metaverse builders are working round the clock to deliver more than what the world wants. With time, innovations like the Snapdragon AR2 glasses will make the metaverse an immersive alternate reality for everyone.