Qualcomm announces XR1 AR Smart Viewer reference design

Chip maker Qualcomm has launched a brand new reference design for augmented actuality glasses: an AR “sensible viewer” you may tether to a telephone or PC through USB-C. Known as the XR1 Sensible Viewer, the system is supposed to be light-weight and look (type of) like sun shades, whereas additionally enabling options like hand monitoring and spatial consciousness. The primary glasses based mostly on its design are set for launch in mid-2021.

The XR1 is designed as a consumer-focused “must-have accent” for telephones and computer systems, reasonably than a self-contained product. It makes use of two 1920 x 1080 OLED shows with a 90Hz refresh price, plus an array of cameras, so as to add a digital overlay to the actual world. The digicam array may assist hand monitoring as a management scheme, and it may possibly detect planes within the surroundings, so you are able to do issues like pin a digital window to a wall for a number of PC shows — or place a digital object on a desk and work together with it by gesture controls. Like most AR glasses, nonetheless, they’ve a comparatively restricted discipline of view of 45 levels, which is roughly much like the Microsoft HoloLens 2.


Lenovo already introduced a product based mostly on the XR1 Sensible Viewer reference design: the ThinkReality A3 glasses, which it unveiled at CES earlier this yr. ThinkReality A3 glasses are set for launch in mid-2021 at a presently unlisted value, following up on Lenovo’s A6 business-focused headset from 2019.

The XR1 Sensible Viewer is distinct from the Snapdragon XR1 or XR2 platforms — a pair of chipsets which might be optimized for digital and augmented actuality glasses, together with final yr’s XR2-based Oculus Quest 2. It’s designed to carry out some duties utilizing built-in electronics, but it surely offloads different duties to an exterior computing system, permitting for a extra light-weight design.

Qualcomm has spent the final couple of years pushing for AR glasses adoption, which it thinks might stimulate the nascent 5G mobile market by popularizing high-bandwidth mixed-reality apps. It’s beforehand partnered with Chinese language firm Nreal on the Nreal Gentle, one of many solely consumer-focused AR viewers — which plugs right into a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855- or 865-powered telephone. The Nreal Gentle launched late final yr in Korea and Japan, and yesterday, Nreal announced that it’ll arrive within the European Union and the US later this yr.

To date, AR glasses have struggled to achieve the mainstream. Nevertheless, the ThinkReality A3 and every other XR1 Sensible Viewer-based merchandise could find yourself competing with a few main corporations. Fb introduced its impending entry into AR {hardware} final yr, and it’s planning to launch a set of Ray-Ban smart glasses with restricted AR-like options later in 2021. Apple can also be rumored to be making a high-end AR / VR headset geared toward constructing a developer ecosystem.

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