Qualcomm introduces Virtual Reality software development kit

Qualcomm Inc’s subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has introduced a new virtual reality (VR) software development kit (SDK).

The next generation of mobile virtual reality applications is complex, with extreme power consumption constraints and challenging performance requirements that must be met in order for the VR applications to become truly immersive. Advanced heterogeneous processors like the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 processor are capable of supporting immersive VR experiences, but can also be difficult to fully utilise without the right set of tools for developers.

The new Snapdragon VR SDK is designed to abstract the complexity of immersive virtual reality and provide developers with access to optimised, advanced VR features, to simplify development and to help them attain improved VR performance and power efficiency with the Snapdragon 820 for Android smartphones and upcoming VR headsets. The SDK is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2016 through the Qualcomm Developer Network.

ave Durnil, senior director, engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc
Dave Durnil, senior director, engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc

“We’re providing advanced tools and technologies to help developers significantly improve the virtual reality experience for applications like games, 360 degree VR videos and a variety of interactive education and entertainment applications,” said Dave Durnil, senior director, engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “VR represents a new paradigm for how we interact with the world, and we’re excited to help mobile VR developers more efficiently deliver compelling and high-quality experiences on upcoming Snapdragon 820 VR-capable Android smartphones and headsets.”

For the first time, many new technologies that are crucial for an optimal VR user experience will be supported in the Snapdragon VR SDK. These include:

  • DSP sensor fusion: Utilising the full breadth of technologies built into Snapdragon 820, the SDK enables developers to create more responsive and immersive experiences by easily accessing the right combination of high frequency inertial data from gyroscopes and accelerometers via the Snapdragon Sensor Core and predictive head position processing with the Qualcomm® Hexagon™ DSP
  • Fast motion to photon: Supports asynchronous time warp with single buffer rendering for fast transformation of rendered images in 3D space, which helps reduce latency by up to 50% compared with not using the SDK
  • Stereoscopic rendering with lens correction: Supports 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience
  • VR layering: Generation of menus, text, and other overlays so that they render correctly in a virtual world, reducing distortions that would otherwise make them difficult to read
  • Power management: Integration with the Qualcomm® Symphony System Manager SDK to provide cohesive CPU, GPU, and DSP power and performance management to help achieve stable frame rates for VR applications running in low-power, thermally-constrained devices – improving power efficiency compared to not using the SDK

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