If you’ve been wondering where the future of augmented reality (AR) is going this week offers a good example of two global companies efforts in the space. Yesterday saw the official launch of Niantic Lightship whilst today Qualcomm has unveiled its Snapdragon Spaces XR developer platform for the creation of cool new AR experiences.
This new AR development kit (ARDK) will help support Qualcomm’s current AR plans which were first detailed earlier in the year with the XR1 AR Smart Viewer Reference Design. As with all of Qualcomm’s XR efforts Snapdragon Spaces is built upon the idea of an open, cross-platform ecosystem to encourage more businesses and creators into the space.
Designed for next-gen AR glasses, Snapdragon Spaces offers a range of features to make AR experiences as seamless as possible. These include spatial mapping and meshing, occlusion, plane detection, object and image recognition and tracking to name a few. It’ll support Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, Unity and integrate into Niantic Lightship to utilise its multiplayer functionality.
“The Snapdragon SpacesXR Developer Platform underscores our commitment to empowering developers to explore bravely and create confidently, paving the way to a new frontier of spatial computing,” said Hugo Swart, vice president and general manager of XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. in a statement. “Snapdragon Spaces is designed to support the democratization of XR by taking a horizontal, open-channel approach so developers can rapidly bring their ideas to life and reach a wide range of end-users. We welcome developers to join us in this journey to reimagine reality.”
“We share a common vision with our AR hardware partner Qualcomm Technologies for creating experiences that fuse the digital and real worlds,” adds John Hanke, Founder and CEO of Niantic. “What Snapdragon Spaces will achieve for people with AR glasses indoors complements our goal for developers to build planet-scale AR applications on multiple devices and form factors with Niantic’s Lightship Platform. We look forward to working together with Qualcomm Technologies to accelerate AR hardware and software adoption across the industry.”
Additionally, also arriving today is the Snapdragon Spaces Pathfinder Program. Helping support AR creators the programme will provide access to hardware development kits, project funding, co-marketing and promotion. If you’re an AR developer you can apply via the Snapdragon Spaces page.
Today’s announcement is an early access launch for Snapdragon Spaces arriving in the hands of select developers like Felix & Paul Studios, Scope AR, TRIPP and Resolution Games. A more general release will then take place in Spring 2022. For continued updates from Qualcomm, keep reading VRFocus.