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 game elements, navigation markers, and signs 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. The AR2 Gen 1 platform suggests that the smartphone is wirelessly connected. 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. This new processor is designed to be small and efficient. Qualcomm claims that the new processor is 40% smaller than the XR2Gen 1 used in reference AR glasses. It was however intended for VR devices. Additionally, the new chip offers 2.5x faster performance in AI algorithms and 50% less power consumption than XR2Gen 1. The new AR2 Gen 1 is less than 1W in operation. It can load balance between several processors within the glasses, as well wirelessly with a smartphone or computer.
Mariam Sabur from Niantic showed the Outdoor AR Headset Reference Design at Qualcomm’s Launch Event. This headset was designed specifically for the Snapdragon AR2 Generation 1. The promotional trailer shows the new headset being used alongside other models by Niantic. Qualcomm stated that other manufacturers are also planning to use the chip, including Lenovo, LG and Oppo as well as Oppo and TCL.
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. While currently available only on smartphones, the Lightship VPS will be compatible with Snapdragon Spaces.