Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM), today at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), announced a new virtual reality development kit consisting of a wireless, standalone VR head mounted display (HMD), and a new software development kit (SDK) for the powerful Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 845 Mobile VR Platform. This new virtual reality development kit (VRDK) from Qualcomm Technologies is designed to support the next generation of mobile virtual reality applications.
“In virtual reality, content is important to an immersive experience, so we’re excited to grant developers access to our new Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform through development kits that will help them create truly immersive experiences,” said Hiren Bhinde, director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We built the new Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit with application developers in mind, designed to abate some of the hassles of optimizing virtual reality content for mobile deployment, as well as to support easier access to several innovations and technology advancements of Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform.”
Advanced heterogeneous platforms like the Snapdragon 845 are capable of supporting immersive VR experiences when developers are given the right set of tools. The new Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit is designed as a comprehensive, stand-alone mobile VR platform that is supported by Snapdragon profiler and power optimization tools to simplify development and provide VR application developers with access to new VR features for truly immersive mobile experiences on Snapdragon 845 Android devices.
For the first time, many new technologies that are crucial for an optimal and immersive VR user experience will be supported in the Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit. These include:
• Room-scale 6DoF SLAM: The Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit is engineered to help VR developers create applications that allow users to explore virtual worlds, moving freely around in a room, rather than being constrained to a single viewing position. Un-tethered mobile VR experiences like these can benefit from the Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit’s pre-optimized hardware and software for room-scale six degrees of freedom (6DoF) with “inside-out” simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). All of this is designed to be accomplished without any external setup in the room by the users, and without any cables or wires.
• Qualcomm® Adreno™ Foveation: Our eyes are only able to observe significant details in a very small center of our field of vision – this region is called the “fovea”. Foveated rendering utilizes this understanding to boost performance & save power, while also improving visual quality. This is accomplished through multiple technology advancements for multi-view, tile-based foveation with eye-tracking and fine grain preemption to help VR application developers deliver truly immersive visuals with optimal power efficiency.
• Eye Tracking: Users naturally convey intentions about how and where they want to interact within virtual worlds through their eyes. Qualcomm Technologies worked with Tobii AB to develop an integrated and optimized eye tracking solution for the Snapdragon 845 VR Development Kit. The cutting-edge eye tracking solution on Snapdragon 845 VR Development Kit is designed to help developers utilize Tobii’s EyeCore™ eye tracking algorithms to create content that utilizes gaze direction for fast interactions, and superior intuitive interfaces.
• Boundary System: The new SDK for the Snapdragon 845 VR Development Kit supports a boundary system that is engineered to help VR application developers accurately visualize real-world spatial constraints within virtual worlds, so that their applications can effectively manage notifications and play sequences for VR games or videos, as the user approaches the boundaries of the real-world play space.
In addition to enhancing commercial reach for the VR developer community, Qualcomm Technologies is excited to announce support for the HTC Vive Wave™ VR SDK on the Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit, anticipated to be available later this year. The Vive Wave™ VR SDK is a comprehensive tool set of APIs that is designed to help developers create high-performance, Snapdragon-optimized content across diverse hardware vendors at scale, and offer a path to monetizing applications on future HTC Vive ready products via the multi-OEM Viveport™ application store.
The Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit’s hardware HMD and companion SDK are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2018.