The Architecture of Snapdragon Spaces

Tuesday 7/19/22 08:36am
Posted By Brian Vogelsang
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Snapdragon and Qualcomm branded products are products of
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Augmented World Expo (AWE) recently covered the latest news and exciting updates in augmented reality (AR). A couple of weeks back we published an overview of our presentation, The Ticket to the Metaverse, and now in this blog post we cover The Architecture of Snapdragon Spaces that was presented by Steve Lukas, Director, Product Management XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

The Architecture of Snapdragon Spaces
For developers, implementing AR is really exciting, and where our Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform comes in. It consists of SDKs for both Unity and Unreal, and an HDK comprising the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 smart glasses and Motorola edge+ smartphone.

Snapdragon Spaces HDK consisting of the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 smart glasses and Motorola edge+ smartphone.

To help developers better understand the platform, Steve’s presentation took a deep dive into its purpose, design, and capabilities. Let’s take a closer look.

As emphasized by Steve, Snapdragon Spaces is designed to eliminate the need for OEMs to build their own SDKs to access common AR perception features. With Snapdragon Spaces, developers can contribute to an ecosystem that OEMs can tap into. At the same time, developers can minimize their code branching and distribute to the different Snapdragon Spaces compatible platforms.

He then showed some examples of companies using Snapdragon Spaces. The first example is Tripp by TRIPP, that was ported over from other XR platforms in a very short amount of time:

Tripp by TRIPP.

This was followed by a demo of FlinkAR, a new dragon flying experience built for Snapdragon Spaces by forwARdgame:

FlinkAAR by forwARdgame.

And finally, Air Derby, a mobile airplane game from our own Snapdragon Game Studios that was converted into AR:

Air Derby by Snapdragon Game Studios.

Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platfrom offerings are build on are several core technologies. This includes core perception technology by Wikitude, hand tracking technology by Clay Air, and cloud mapping technology by Augmented Pixels.

Steve also touched on OpenXR (the open standard for XR) and the importance of OpenXR-compliant tools like Snapdragon Spaces. OpenXR-compliance means platforms no longer need to devise their own custom AR APIs for developers to target. Instead, they provide an implementation of OpenXR’s APIs, so existing apps targeting OpenXR are largely compatible. In the context of Snapdragon Spaces’ Unreal and Unity SDKs, you generally don't have to change your existing scene scripts or even your setup for AR operations. More often than not, you can just swap in the OpenXR implementation.

Steve then provided specifics on Snapdragon Spaces Services, an OpenXR-compliant runtime for head-worn AR on Android mobile phones. Snapdragon Spaces Services is distributed as an APK through the Google Play Store for installation on users’ devices. AR apps then programmatically request specific AR services from the APK at runtime, and the APK communicates directly with the hardware, as shown in the following stack:

Snapdragon Spaces Services provides apps with AR runtime functionality.

By providing AR functionality via an APK, we take care of the implementation details and optimization. The Snapdragon Spaces Services can then be updated over time, no longer requiring the need to wait for a full OEM mobile OS (e.g., Android) release to acquire these updates.

Steve rounded out his presentation by listing several related XR programs. In addition to our Snapdragon Spaces Pathfinder program and Snapdragon Metaverse Fund, Steve mentioned the T-Mobile Accelerator XR Program with Snapdragon Spaces and the Hubraum Snapdragon Spaces Program. These programs support startups and developers building immersive AR experiences, so be sure to check them out!

Make AR a Reality Today!
Missed the event? Check out the following keynotes from the event on YouTube:

Then head to our Snapdragon Spaces page and start building your next great AR experience.

Snapdragon and Snapdragon Spaces are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. Snapdragon Spaces Pathfinder is a program of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.