Qualcomm sets a new example for AR glasses design

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Qualcomm

Qualcomm is a leader in mobile technologies, and naturally its processors are popular in mixed reality headsets like Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest). But what about AR glasses? Well, Qualcomm now confirms that it’s working with three companies to develop Snapdragon-powered smart glasses, and has even released a “reference design” to prepare us for the future.

The new “Wireless AR Smart Viewfinder Reference Design”, which is quite complicated, runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 chipset. It includes two 90Hz FHD micro-OLED displays, three cameras, and head-tracking software to “enable immersive experiences that unlock the metaverse.”

But more importantly, the new benchmark product is completely wireless. It uses Wi-Fi 6E and the FastConnect 6900 system to pair with a phone, which handles the processing and rendering for the glasses. (The downside, of course, is that only the newer flagship phones support FastConnect 6900 hardware.)

A graphic showing the characteristics of the reference AR headset.
Qualcomm

It might not sound like a big deal, but Qualcomm is trying to prove that lightweight, ergonomic AR glasses are just around the corner. You can’t develop a dresser Y An advanced pair of AR glasses using today’s technology: This stuff requires a second device (a phone, PC, or cloud servers) to help handle the processing. If manufacturers go with Snapdragon chips, they can go wireless with minimal consequence.

At least, that is the theory. Qualcomm admits that early mixed reality hardware, like early smartphones, will have its problems. And one of those issues can be battery life. Qualcomm predicts that the glasses’ 650mAh battery will last around 30 minutes with continuous use.

We expect several companies to release lightweight AR glasses in the coming years, including Microsoft, which will reportedly use Qualcomm chips. In particular, Apple is rumored to release its AR glasses (which require an iPhone for co-processing) later this year.

Source: Qualcomm