If companies make augmented reality glasses, you really want to wear, they will need powerful chips but will not require a big battery on the head. Qualcomm thinks this can help. The company has unveiled a Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 platform designed for thin AR glasses. The multi-chip design is said to deliver 2.5 times the AI performance of the company’s XR2-based reference design while using half the power. You could have glasses that intelligently detect objects in the room while still being thin and light enough to be used for hours at a time.
Part of the trick is to spread the computing load across the frame of the glasses, says Qualcomm. The main 4nm-based AR processor includes CPU, Tensor AI processing, graphics, and engines for features like visual analysis. It can support up to nine simultaneous cameras to track both your body and the world around you. A co-processor elsewhere in the glasses includes an AI accelerator for tasks such as eye tracking and computer vision, while a third chip handles connectivity to networks and phones. Not only does this balance weight better, but it leads to smaller circuit boards and fewer wires than you’d see with a single all-purpose chip.
This networking is also important, says Qualcomm. Like Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in phones, AR2 Gen 1 is one of the first platforms to be supported WiFi 7. This is crucial not only for providing the masses of bandwidth for connecting to a handset (up to 5.8 Gbps), but for reducing latency (less than 2ms on your phone, according to Qualcomm). Combined with the reduction in lag in the CPU and coprocessor, you should have a more natural and responsive experience.
Hardware built on AR2 Gen 1 is in “various stages” of progress at several well-known companies, including Lenovo, LG, Nreal, Oppo and Xiaomi. Above all, Microsoft had a hand in the platform requirements. Don’t be surprised if you ever use AR2 for virtual collaboration in Meshnot to mention other Microsoft apps and services.
Qualcomm has also introduced significant updates to its audio technology. New Sound S3 Gen 2 and Sound S5 Gen 2 platforms promise to make the latest listening technologies more mainstream, including spatial audio with head-tracking, lower latency for gaming, and the latest iteration of adaptive active noise-cancellation (think transparency modes found on some headphones). You won’t see real-world products until the second half of 2023, but these chips could democratize features that were previously reserved for more expensive headphones and earphones.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices correct at time of publication.