It’s day 2 of the Snapdragon Summit, and Qualcomm isn’t done showing off new silicon just yet it seems. The San Diego company has now revealed the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 platform, which aims to power a new generation of sleek and powerful augmented reality glasses.
Built from the ground up using the 4nm process, the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 was designed to fit in the thinnest AR glasses possible. Qualcomm achieved this by building a multi-chip distributed processing architecture combined with custom IP blocks. The main processor here takes up 40% less PCB area with an overall 2.5x better AI performance than before. All of this is achieved while using less than 50% of power, allowing future AR glasses to use less than 1W of power, providing what Qualcomm claims will be a rich AR experience that can be comfortably worn for a long time.
That multi-chip distributed processing architecture in particular came about as a way to better balance the weight of headworn glasses while decreasing the arm width on either side of the glasses. The multi-chip architecture sees an AR processor, an AR co-processor and a connectivity platform located at various different parts of the frame, with the AR processor itself optimised for low motion-to-photon latency while supporting up to nine concurrent cameras for user and environmental understanding. It comes with a dedicated hardware acceleration engine too for enhanced perception abilities along with improved user motion tracking and localisation.
Meanwhile, AR co-processor meanwhile aggregates camera and sensor data, enables eye tracking and iris authentication for foveated rendering and overall optimises workloads to only where the user is looking, helping to reduce power consumption. And as for the connectivity platform, it’s built around the Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 connectivity system, the same one in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, allowing for WiFi 7 support and a below 2ms latency between the AR glasses themselves and the host device.
The whole platform would then be dynamically working to distribute the processing of latency-sensitive perception data directly on the glasses, while offloading more complex data processing requirements to your smartphone, PC or any other compatible host device.
“We built Snapdragon AR2 to address the unique challenges of headworn AR and provide industry leading processing, AI and connectivity that can fit inside a stylish form factor.
With the technical and physical requirements for VR/MR and AR diverging, Snapdragon AR2 represents another metaverse-defining platform in our XR portfolio to help our OEM partners revolutionise AR glasses,” – Hugo Swart, Qualcomm vice president of XR product management
Meanwhile, Qualcomm is working with manufacturers like Lenovo, Pico, Sharp, Niantic, LG, Oppo and more to create these AR glasses and headsets As part of the process of getting AR tech out into the mainstream, Qualcomm will also be helping developers build applications to be used alongside headworn AR hardware. The Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 will be part of the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform, which is designed to be a foundation of sorts that can help developers work with headworn AR content and push the AR glasses segment forward.