Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon XR2 5G platform last year, followed by the first reference designs in February. This was then followed by unveiling a selection of ‘XR Viewers’ powered by the platform which will begin arriving this year. Now Qualcomm and Ultraleap have revealed a multi-year deal to optimise hand tracking for that reference design.
The agreement will see Ultraleap’s hand tracking technology pre-integrated and tuned to Qualcomm’s standalone, untethered XR2 headset. The design will feature Ultraleap’s fifth-generation hand tracking platform ‘Gemini’, providing an an ‘always on’ experience.
Hand tracking is becoming a lot more prevalent in virtual reality (VR) headsets, most notably rolled out this year for Oculus Quest. Ultraleap’s tech has made it into high-end headsets like VRgineers’ XTAL or the Varjo VR-2 Pro, whilst consumer-level Pimax will eventually bring out a module to add the functionality.
“Qualcomm Technologies recognises the importance of high-precision hand tracking in order to revolutionise interaction in XR. The compatibility of our technology with the Snapdragon XR2 5G Platform will make the process of designing hand tracking within a very wide variety of products as simple as pick and place,” said Steve Cliffe, CEO of Ultraleap in a statement. “Qualcomm Technologies is in the position to bring transformation to XR by making state-of-the-art technologies – including 5G and spatial computing – available to a broad market. We are proud to be at the forefront of this fast-growing ecosystem alongside them.”
“Hand tracking is becoming a table-stakes feature in next-gen XR devices. True immersive XR experiences require seamless, natural and intuitive usage and interaction of the users’ hand when interacting in the digital world as they do in the physical world. Ultraleap’s hand tracking technology enables this seamless interaction through a natural connection between people and technology, which is incredibly important for the next generation of XR devices. We are excited to work with Ultraleap to help deliver more immersive experiences on the Snapdragon XR2 5G reference design,” adds Hiren Bhinde, director of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
When we’ll see the first XR2 reference design headsets with hand tracking appear is unclear but the XR Viewers are beginning to surface. The Nreal Light recently became available in South Korea, with a worldwide rollout continuing over the course of 2020.