AR and Snapdragon Spaces: From Theory to Practice

Wednesday 9/21/22 09:40am
Posted By Brian Vogelsang
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Snapdragon and Qualcomm branded products are products of
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Augmented reality (AR) has evolved to the point where we think lightweight headworn AR glasses are poised to become the next evolution of the smartphone. This lets users view their surroundings overlaid with a rich digital view – all without having to look down at their smartphones.

But building these experiences requires specialized knowledge, which is why we published our AR eBook: The Constructs of Augmented Reality – A Developer’s Guide to AR. If you haven’t checked it out yet, we think you will like it, so be sure to download your copy.

Our eBook provides an overview of the current state-of-the-art for AR across these key areas:

  • Layers of AR: How the physical and digital world blend to provide immersive experiences
  • Defining Attributes: Digital awareness and perception of the real world, physics-compliant experiences, and persistence across sessions at a real-world scale
  • Convergence of Technologies: How converging technologies contribute to the AR experience
  • Foundational Constructs: Bridging the physical and digital worlds, logic to work with objects and provide behaviors, scenes that understand real-world surroundings, and efficient rendering
  • Example Use Cases: Enterprise and consumer examples, and a look at the role of AR in the Metaverse
  • Development Skills: Key skillsets to develop AR experiences
  • Options and Paths to AR: Different ways to build or port an app to AR
  • Tools and Technologies: Key AR solutions for building AR experiences

From Theory to Practice: Enter Snapdragon Spaces
For developers who want to put this information into practice today, our Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform can help. Built on OpenXR, Snapdragon Spaces is an end-to-end AR development solution with SDKs for Unity and Unreal, and an HDK consisting of the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 and Motorola edge+ smartphone. These resources help provide the tangible foundation for many of the ideas, constructs, and processes we cover in our eBook.

And we’re excited that a variety of companies are already developing with Snapdragon Spaces including Interwoven Worlds, Resolution Games, Mawari, Iconic Engine, Victory XR, Deutsche Telekom, Overlay, and Arvizio. Here’s what the leaders of these companies had to say about Snapdragon Spaces:

Their messages show industry alignment across several of the key goals we set out for Snapdragon Spaces.

For instance, one of our main goals was to abstract away the technical details of AR so developers can focus on application development. Fred Howard, CEO of Interwoven Worlds, says Snapdragon Spaces “lets developers like us focus on the game and game mechanics, and less about some of the complicated things that Snapdragon Spaces has solved for us”. He also says, “the technologies of today are allowing us to develop what was an idea 10 years ago.” Elina Ollila, CXO of Iconic Engine, echoed this with her belief that Snapdragon Spaces will “help small companies like us focus on core competencies ... and companies can focus on the cool stuff not on the tedious stuff.”

Another related goal was to provide the key constructs needed by AR developers like anchors, geolocation, and hand tracking. On this, Fred Howard says, “we're looking at the anchoring system right now to allow us to bring our first games to market; down the road, we're really excited about geolocation and some of the hand tracking.”

When it comes to the hardware, we support the evolution toward ubiquitous headworn experiences. To achieve this, we designed the HDK around lightweight glasses backed by a powerful device. Jonathan Reeves, CEO, of Arvizio, commented on this vision, saying, “by combining cost-effective headsets with more powerful mobile devices and Snapdragon Spaces, we expect to see a significant acceleration in the rate of market adoption.”

Finally, one of the reasons we chose to build Snapdragon Spaces on OpenXR was to facilitate portability. Paul Brady, CEO of Resolution Games, says: “it [Snapdragon Spaces] supports OpenXR, which makes it really easy for us to bring in content using tools like Unity … and other tools to make … porting things over, or developing things in general, much more simplistic and faster”. Terry Schussler, Senior Director at Deutsche Telekom, says this portability, “makes it possible for the single software developer source code to be deployed across multiple devices ... tomorrow there will be many other manufacturers, handsets, and headworn devices that the same developer's application can be delivered to.”

We are really happy with feedback like this because it reinforces our belief that Snapdragon Spaces is on the right track to continue helping developers build new AR experiences.

Learn about AR and try out Snapdragon Spaces Today!
Ready to begin your own AR development?

Start by learning the foundations from our eBook. Then head to the Snapdragon Spaces Developer Portal, check out the documentation, and register to download the Snapdragon Spaces SDK for Unity or Unreal. And if you don’t have Unity or Unreal, both offer free trials that you can download and set up right away. Once installed, just follow our Unity Setup Guide or Unreal Engine Setup Guide to integrate our SDK. Then grab yourself some compatible hardware like our Snapdragon Spaces Hardware Development Kit, and you’re ready to make headworn AR experiences a reality!

For additional information, be sure to check out the following resources:

Snapdragon Spaces is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.