Chip To Design New Wave Of AR/VR Headsets

AR/VR headsets

Virtual and augmented reality devices are one of the innovative new technology that is finding ways into the lives of consumers especially for gaming, video entertainment, etc.

Qualcomm has taken a next step in the VR and AR space with its new dedicated Extended Reality (XR) platform, the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR. Based on the platform, the firm unveiled the first comprehensive AR and VR chip, Snapdragon XR1, that is supposed to help companies in building cheaper augmented and virtual reality gadgets.

Comprehensive AR/VR Chip For Mass-market Headsets

In the product announcement, Qualcomm said that the XR1 Platform contains everything required for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to build mainstream AR and VR devices. The platform will offer high-quality AR experiences with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. The chip will enable better interactivity, power consumption and thermal efficiency.


XR1 integrates the company’s heterogeneous compute architecture, including the ARM-based multicore Central Processing Unit (CPU), vector processor, Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and AI Engine. Other key features include an advanced XR software service layer, machine learning, the Snapdragon XR Software Development Kit (SDK) and connectivity and security technologies.

Of note is the XR1 platform’s AI engine for on-device processing. This engine provides 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.

Key features of the new AR/VR solution:

Visual Technology: The XR1 platform’s support for Ultra high-definition 4K video resolution at up to 60 frames per second will enable a unique experience for consumers to watch their favorite movies, programs and sports. Qualcomm noted that this is enabled by the image processing algorithms that help to significantly reduce unwanted noise from snapshots producing a substantially improved final picture in high-quality AR headsets.

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The platform also features advanced vision processing capabilities which lets users move around in the virtual world or interact with augmented objects in an AR experience.

Audio: Talking about audio, the XR1 enables high-fidelity audio experiences and “always-on, always-listening” voice assistance as well as Bluetooth playback.

Interaction: The platform features three- and six-degrees of freedom (3DoF, 6DoF) head tracking and controller capabilities that will allow mainstream users to not only move freely in the virtual world like never before but also interact and play within it.

“As technology evolves and consumer demand grows, we envision XR devices playing a wider variety of roles in consumers’ and workers’ daily lives,” said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, Mobile Business Unit, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “By integrating powerful visuals, high-fidelity audio, and rich interactive experiences, XR1 will help create a new era of high-quality, mainstream XR devices for consumers.”

Qualcomm said that headset OEMs Meta, VIVE, Vuzix and Pico are already developing using the XR1 platform. The company plans to offer the first XR1-based devices at the end of 2018 or in early 2019.

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