- One of the key features enhanced by the XR2 Gen 2 is foveated rendering. This technology enables the high-quality rendering of 3D graphics, specifically where the user’s gaze is directed, achieved through eye tracking while employing low-quality rendering in peripheral areas.
- Another significant upgrade of the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 involves an enhanced tracking capability, integrating additional sensors for various tracking functionalities, including face tracking, body tracking, and gesture tracking.
Qualcomm Technologies Inc. has introduced a new chip, the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 platform, designed to drive high-resolution 3D graphics in upcoming immersive virtual reality and mixed reality headsets.
This latest chip builds upon the technology of the previously introduced Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 platform, announced in September, and integrated into the Meta Platforms Inc. Quest 3 VR headset.
The “ ” version enhances performance over the XR2 Gen 2, featuring a 15% higher graphics processing unit frequency and a 20% higher central processing unit performance. Additionally, it is equipped with support for robust on-board artificial intelligence, specifically designed to drive gesture and body tracking by utilizing 12 or more camera sensors.
Hugo Swart, Qualcomm’s Vice President and General Manager of XR, said, “Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 unlocks 4.3K resolution, which will take XR productivity and entertainment to the next level by bringing spectacularly clear visuals to use cases such as room-scale screens, life-size overlays and virtual desktops. We are advancing our commitment to power the best XR devices and experiences that will supercharge our immersive future.”
One of the key features enhanced by the XR2 Gen 2 is foveated rendering. This technology enables high-quality rendering of 3D graphics, specifically where the user’s gaze is directed, achieved through eye tracking, while employing low-quality rendering in peripheral areas. This approach is effective due to the nature of human eyesight, which is high-quality in a narrow vision range at the center, often referred to as the tunnel of vision. Foveated rendering capitalizes on this by rendering only a small area within the gaze, significantly saving GPU and CPU cycles.
During a press briefing, Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Product Management, Said Bakadir, explained, “There is no way you can process a row or a native 4K by 4K resolution. So here foveation is very important. We have supported foveation for years now due to our architecture.”
Another significant upgrade involves an enhanced tracking capability, enabling the integration of additional sensors for various tracking functionalities, including face tracking, body tracking, and gesture tracking. Bakadir said, “What we have also is the ability to drive a lot more cameras. We have the ability to support 12 or more cameras. Now that we have these visuals, people are expecting more interactions.”
With the expanded capacity to activate more sensors and cameras simultaneously, as explained by Bakadir, virtual avatars can be crafted to be more lifelike and interactive. For instance, in virtual meetings, digital avatars can represent individuals, often featuring a cartoonish version that may include facial features, arms, and legs. The capability to mirror movements of eyes, eyebrows, limbs, heads, and fingers significantly enhances the social experience, introducing a lifelike dimension where body language complements verbal communication.
In terms of mixed reality capabilities, which are distinct from virtual reality as they integrate the real world with virtual elements, Bakadir highlighted that the chip supports full-color video passthrough with an exceptionally low latency of 12 milliseconds.
Qualcomm disclosed a close collaboration with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Google LLC to bring the new chip to the market. The company mentioned collaborating with five customers, but specific names were not disclosed.
Qualcomm introduced a new Mixed Reality (MR) and Virtual Reality (VR) reference design developed in collaboration with China-based Goertek Inc. to facilitate a faster start for developers working with the chip. The design incorporates eye-tracking technology from Tobii AB.