Niantic, the developer of the hit game Pokémon Go, has unveiled a reference augmented reality headset powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 processor at Qualcomm’s 2022 Snapdragon Summit.
You can see the interaction between virtual signs, navigation markers, and game elements in a short promotional trailer. While some players use hand-held motion controllers to control their virtual game elements, there is no indication that smartphones are being used in the gameplay. It is likely that the smartphone has been connected wirelessly as the AR2 Gen 1 platform indicates. The processor supports WiFi 7 (aka 802.11be), and promises that the delay between the main device’s glasses and the main device will be less then 2 milliseconds.
Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 was the first Qualcomm chip specifically designed for augmented reality glasses. The new processor is designed to be small and efficient. Qualcomm claims the new chip is 40% smaller in size than the XR2 Generation 1 used in the previous reference AR glasses. However, it was designed for VR devices. The new chip also offers 2.5x higher performance in AI algorithms and a 50% lower power consumption than the XR2 Generation 1. The new AR2 Gen 1 is less than 1W in operation. It can load balance between several processors inside the glasses, as well wirelessly connecting smartphones or PCs.
Mariam Sabur, Niantic’s new Outdoor AR Headset reference design, was on display at Qualcomm’s launch event. It was specifically designed for the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 smartphone. In this promotional trailer, the new headset from Niantic can be seen alongside older models. Qualcomm indicated that the chip will also be used by Lenovo, LG, Oppo TCL, Oppo and Xiaomi.
The conference announced next year’s integration of Niantic’s Lightship Visual Positioning System (VPS), which powers augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces VR and AR developer platform. Lightship VPS allows players to store virtual items and place them in Niantic games. The integration with Snapdragon Spaces will make the Lightship VPS available for AR headsets, although it is currently only available for smartphones.