Niantic Reveals Snapdragon AR2-powered Headset for Outside Use

Again in early 2021 Pokémon GO developer Niantic gave only a transient tease that it was engaged on some type of see-through headset. Now the corporate has revealed that it’s been working with Qualcomm on a reference AR headset based mostly on the Snapdragon AR2 platform.

Niantic has been quietly creating a modern reference design for what the corporate is looking an “outside AR headset.” Qualcomm has been a part of the mission too, with Niantic calling the headset a “shared imaginative and prescient for an out of doors AR headset,” in an announcement this month.

There’s only a few precise particulars on the specs of Niantic’s reference headset, however so far as we all know it’s constructed atop Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon AR2, a platform of chips specifically designed to allow compact, low-powered AR headsets and glasses. It isn’t clear if the headset is using a number system (like a smartphone) for added computing.

Picture courtesy Niantic

Compact certainly… whereas we now have only a few particulars on the reference headset, the system is sort of definitely utilizing waveguide optics (contemplating how compact it’s). We are able to additionally spot three cameras on the entrance which shall be used for positional monitoring. And from a render of the Niantic AR headset, it seems to have the ability to fold in on itself to turn out to be extra compact for journey. It isn’t clear from the rendering if it is a fully gentle strap or if there’s a mechanical hinge hiding someplace beneath the cloth-looking struts of the headstrap.

Picture courtesy Niantic

Within the video above we really see two totally different headsets. The primary shot is of a white headset and controller that seems to be the identical because the render.

Picture courtesy Niantic

The second is a black headset and black controller that doesn’t look fairly as compact—that is presumably nearer to the primary model of the headset which the corporate teased beforehand.

Contemplating that solely the black headset is proven all through the majority of the video, it appears the white headset will not be absolutely useful simply but.

“The {hardware} reference design showcases the potential for outdoor-capable AR headsets that may orient themselves utilizing the Niantic map and render info and digital worlds on prime of the bodily world,” says Niantic’s Head of AR Headsets, Maryam Sabour. “The reference design will proceed to evolve, and we’re excited in regards to the new Snapdragon AR2 platform that delivers ground-breaking expertise to allow headset manufactures to rapidly and extra effectively construct modern, business merchandise based mostly on our imaginative and prescient for shoppers.

The corporate is making it clear that it is a reference headset—Niantic doesn’t wish to convey it to market by itself, however needs to permit different firms to make use of it as a blueprint to make their very own headsets. And since it’s Niantic, it is sensible that the corporate is hoping others will construct AR headsets particularly for the outside.

Most business AR headsets up to now have poor outside capabilities. In the meantime, Niantic’s complete present enterprise hinges on outside video games like Pokémon GO, and the corporate is hoping to turn out to be the localization layer that everybody makes use of to synchronize city-scale AR experiences, by way of its Lightship Visible Positioning System.

On that entrance, Niantic’s headset reveal additionally got here alongside the announcement that Lightship VPS shall be baked into Snapdragon Areas, Qualcomm’s AR developer toolset, beginning in 2023.