Qualcomm unveils first dedicated XR platform

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Qualcomm Technologies has debuted the Snapdragon XR1 Platform, the world’s first dedicated Extended Reality (XR) platform during a launch event in the lead up to the Augmented World Expo (AWE).

The XR1 is a next-generation platform designed to offer mainstream users high-quality XR experiences while enabling OEMs to develop mainstream devices. The platform has special optimisations for Augmented Reality (AR) experiences with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities offering better interactivity, power consumption and thermal efficiency.

Qualcomm confirmed that Meta, VIVE, Vuzix and Picoare are already developing on the first dedicated XR1 platform.

Commenting Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, Mobile Business Unit, Qualcomm Technologies, said “By integrating powerful visuals, high-fidelity audio, and rich interactive experiences, XR1 will help create high-quality, mainstream XR devices for consumers.”

XR1 integrates Qualcomm's heterogeneous compute architecture, including the ARM-based multicore Central Processing Unit (CPU), vector processor, Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and Qualcomm AI Engine.

Other key features include an advanced XR software service layer, machine learning, the Snapdragon XR Software Development Kit (SDK) and the company's connectivity and security technologies.

The platform also provides an AI engine for on-device processing giving customers the ability to process AI-use cases and run high performing, power efficient machine learning based computer vision algorithms, that can help with key AR use cases like better pose prediction, object classification, etc.

The XR1 platform is able to support ultra high-definition 4K video resolution at up to 60 frames per second for high-quality VR HMDs. New dedicated hardware and software algorithms within its Spectra Image Signal Processor (ISP) significantly reduce unwanted noise from snapshots producing a substantially improved final picture in high-quality AR headsets. The integrated display processor provides a range of display options with hardware accelerated composition, dual-display support, 3D overlays and support for leading graphics Application Programming Interfaces (API), including OpenGL, OpenCL and Vulkan.

The platform also features advanced vision processing capabilities fundamental for technologies like Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO), which lets users move around in the virtual world or interact with augmented objects in an AR experience.

The XR1 platform uses Qualcomm's 3D Audio Suite, Qualcomm Aqstic Audio Technologies, and aptX Audio for high-fidelity audio and “always-on, always-listening” voice assistance as well as Bluetooth playback.

An integrated sensor hub and optimized sensor fusion abilities allows users to experience rich interactions with motion to photon latencies well below the scientifically required 20ms.