Glasses with virtual displays are poised to be the next big wearable

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon reference design for the XR1 AR smart viewer is rolling out

Glasses with virtual displays are poised to be the next big wearable 13

Imagine a future where your glasses are able to provide you with a view of several virtual displays. It turns out that this future isn’t very far off, as AR Smart Viewer glasses are poised to be the next hot wearable. To that effect, Qualcomm is introducing its first reference design for augmented reality (AR) glasses based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform.

Last year’s XR Viewer design showed the possibility of casting images from a device directly to the viewer or the glasses. In this scenario, the AR glasses acted more as a viewer that received content from a smartphone or PC. Now Qualcomm is introducing onboard processing into their XR1 AR Smart Viewers. By introducing onboard processing onto the XR viewer, Qualcomm is now able to optimize the viewer’s performance and its quality for the viewer, as well as unlock a handful of new features.

Reference design for the XR1 AR smart viewer
Reference design for the XR1 AR smart viewer

One of these new features includes the ability to view different apps as multiple virtual displays. The smart viewer will analyze the user’s environment and then anchor the virtual displays onto planes visible in the real world.

There’s also support for protected content viewing. This means that users can pay to access certain video content, much like how you would need to pay admission to watch a live virtual concert.

Glasses with virtual displays are poised to be the next big wearable 14

The XR viewer reference design also has cameras built-in – there is an RGB camera with image stabilization and dual monochrome cameras to help with head and hand tracking with gesture recognition. In addition, Qualcomm has introduced on-device battery optimizations that provide a 30-percent reduction in overall power consumption.

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Microsoft has declared their support for this new category of wearables and has committed to help expand this new smart viewer ecosystem. “We look forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies to bring Azure MR services towards this ever-expanding ecosystem of Snapdragon-based Mixed-Reality end-points.”

Additional companies that have already expressed their support include Lenovo, which just recently revealed its Snapdragon XR1-powered ThinkReality A3 enterprise AR glasses, as well as viewing partner Nreal.