Qualcomm’s new AR glasses are thinner and wireless

From The Verge: Qualcomm is introducing a wireless version of its augmented reality Smart Viewer, a reference design that manufacturers could adapt into commercial headsets. The Wireless AR Smart Viewer updates Qualcomm’s earlier smart glasses design with a higher-powered chipset, plus a tethering system that uses Wi-Fi 6 / 6E and Bluetooth instead of a USB-C cable. That comes with the tradeoff of a potentially very short battery life — although Qualcomm says consumer-ready versions might be designed differently.

The new Smart Viewer was developed by Goertek. It’s currently available to a few manufacturing partners with plans to expand access in the coming months. Like its predecessor, it connects to a phone or computer and delivers mixed reality experiences with full head and hand tracking, using tracking cameras and projections powered by micro-OLED displays. Qualcomm has maintained the previous 1920x1080 resolution and 90Hz refresh rate, but it’s slightly narrowing the field of view, dropping it from 45 degrees to 40 degrees diagonal.

That’s substantially smaller than the non-consumer-focused Magic Leap 2, which offers closer to 70 degrees. But in its favor, the Smart Viewer has a slimmer profile than either the wired Smart Viewer or most competitors. Its frames are 15.6mm deep compared to around 25mm for the wired version, softening AR glasses’ typical bug-eyed look. (This shallower design, which uses freeform optics, might be much harder to achieve with a wider FOV.) At 115 grams, it’s a little heftier than the 106-gram Nreal Light glasses, a bit lighter than the rumored 150 grams of Apple’s AR / VR headset, and far svelter than VR headsets like the 503-gram Meta Quest 2.

The wireless viewer uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 chipset compared to the previous model’s XR1 — something Qualcomm says offers more power for computer vision processing and other tasks. Qualcomm promises a brisk 3ms latency between the glasses and the connected phone or PC, as long as your phone or PC includes Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900 chip. (That’s not a given for many machines.) Qualcomm AR / VR head Hugo Swart says the actual “motion to photon” latency is under 20ms, just clearing the threshold for a comfortable mixed reality experience.

View: Full Article