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Mixed Reality Glasses Get 5G with New Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform

Qualcomm has unveiled its new mixed reality (MR) platform named Snapdragon XR2, equipped with 5G technology to facilitate flawless connectivity with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets and smart glasses. The Qualcomm headset, which was revealed as a reference design recently is not similar to conventional sunglasses but has various useful features.

Qualcomm recently invited many media houses to the Snapdragon Summit to discuss topics related to XR. The company’s current mixed reality line product line is being enhanced following the addition of the Snapdragon XR2 5G Platform. The mainstream market will continue to enjoy the XR1, whilst the XR2 becomes a premium option for XR. Qualcomm has revealed that several already existing OEMs that are in different stages of prototyping and analysis may use the new platform.

The new 5G offering from Qualcomm has twice the GPU and CPU power of the Snapdragon 835, 11 times its artificial intelligence performance at 15 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS), and four times the video pixel throughput. The native resolution per eye is also six times better, which is fitting for a mixed reality device.

Image source: Qualcomm

The Snapdragon XR2 is capable of producing 3K × 3K resolution per eye at a refresh rate of 90 fps. It also features 1.5 times the pixel rates of its predecessor and also 1.5 times shader processing. Users can expect to get refresh rates of 60 fps for 8K and 120 fps for 4K displays respectively. Qualcomm is offering support for HDR10 and HDR10+ along with its 120 fps refresh rate support.

The new platform is not the same as one can expect from a Snapdragon-driven smartphone. Qualcomm has utilised tailor-made silicon for reducing latency in AR, and the chip can also take inputs from seven cameras at once. In a practical setting, the XR2 headset tracks 3D position and performs eye, hand, lip and facial tracking, It is also capable of identifying different facial expressions.

Some key features of the platform are scene recognition, 6DoF tracking and object detection. Qualcomm has also announced the development of a three-dimensional reconstruction system featuring semantic segmentation, an AI scene assessment feature that tells the XR2 what object or subject it is seeing. The device uses this feature to determine whether it is looking at a human being, pet, or inanimate object, what the background contains, and how the elements fit into the scene one by one. It can then choose certain things and perform superimposition.

Image source: Qualcomm

3D audio is another feature that adds to the immersive nature of virtual scenes. Qualcomm is also planning to introduce another audio feature called context detection, using which an XR2 device can identify specific real-world sounds. It can then relay on information to users within mixed reality. Qualcomm is using 5G connectivity technology as a vehicle for facilitating MR experiences such as entertainment and sports in higher resolutions and real-time. Latency is also expected to reduce, to aid better gaming and other experiences. Qualcomm plans to revolutionise VR and AR use with the same hardware using the Snapdragon XR2 Platform.

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