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Qualcomm launches platform for easier AR development

12 November 2021
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces is an open platform for developing AR apps by giving developers all the tools to accelerate creation. Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm and Lenovo are partnering to expand augmented reality (AR) software development to make it easier for software engineers to create AR apps.

Under the agreement, the companies will combine the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform with the ThinkReality A3 smart glasses from Lenovo. Developers can use the platform to build new 3D applications for AR glasses or add AR features to existing smartphone applications.

The move comes just a few days after AR startup Niantic opened up its first AR tools to the public in order to further mixed reality development.

Snapdragon Spaces is based on the Kronos OpenXR specification to ensure portability and is the first headworn AR platform optimized for AR glasses tethered to smartphones with an OpenXR runtime, the companies claim.

The features to the Snapdragon Spaces platform include:

  • Spatial mapping and meshing
  • Occlusion
  • Plane detection
  • Object and image recognition and tracking
  • Local anchors and persistence
  • Scene understanding

Qualcomm assembled its AR technology from the assets from HINS SAS and its wholly owned subsidiary Clay Air, a provider of hand tracking and gesture recognition solutions.

Cross-device platform

The Snapdragon Spaces is an open platform that works with existing smartphones uniformly and the kit works with 3D Engines including Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and Niantic’s Lightship developer platform.

The Unreal Engine is a well known 3D creation tool for photoreal visuals and development of games. The lightship platform will integrate the Snapdragon Spaces to enable developers to create planet-scale AR experiences and expand reach to outdoor headworn use cases to connect and play with others in real time through multiplayer functions.

Leading smartphone and AR hardware OEMs including Motorola, Oppo and Xiami are partners with the Snapdragon Spaces with products expected to be available in 2022. The companies are also working with telecoms Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO and T-Mobile.

How it works

Snapdragon Spaces allows developers to build 3D applications for AR glasses from scratch or just add headworn AR features to existing Android smartphones for a mixed reality experience.

Developers received a resource library that includes documentation, sample code, tutorials, knowledge bases and tools to accelerate development.

Under the Snapdragon Spaces Pathfinder Program, AR developers can get early access to platform technology, project funding, co-marketing and promotion and hardware development kits.

Qualcomm is already in early access with AR developers including Felix & Paul Studios, holo | one, Overlay, Scope AR, Tripp, Tiny Rebel Games, NZXR, Forwardgame, Resolution Games and Trigger Global.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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