At this present moment, if there’s one VR headset that can be considered most advanced, it would be the Qualcomm Snapdragon VR820 Reference Platform. For starter, VR820 is self-contained unit. This means it needs no smartphone or computer, for that matter, to function cos’ itself is the computer. Under the hood, is a custom-designed 64-bit Qualcomm Kryo quadcore processor that runs the clockwork, along with Hexagon 680 DSP to process advanced vision, audio, and Qualcomm All-Ways Aware ultra-low power “always-on” sensor technology. So, in a way, donning a VR820 would be like putting a computer right on your face, which is a pretty cool concept.
Along with a power processor is Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU that touts “next-generation console-quality VR gaming and apps,” enabling “smooth, stereoscopic 3D, with foveated rendering.” The headset offers user with 1,440 x 1,440 resolution per eye through its AMOLED panel and supports 360-degree 4K video playback with HEVC compression and at a refresh rate of 70fps, bolstered by Qualcomm TruPalette display gamut mapping, color enhancement comprehensive control over colors. Further more, EcoPix, also a Qualcomm technology, will vary the refresh in an afford to prolong battery life, while Qualcomm Aqstic audio technologies give a boost to the audio department with stereo, binaural positional audio, as well as 3D surround sound.
There are four microphones onboard, outfitted with Fluence HD noise filtering and active noise cancellation, so you can dive into full immersion without being distracted by ambient noises. VR820 also stands out as the first VR headset to be equipped with four cameras. Of the four imagers, two are eye-tracking variety and two front-facing cameras for six degrees of freedom AKA 6DOF (basically, head tracking) and see-through applications. The former is kind of a big deal as it allows selecting or highlighting an object (something along the line of Apache attack helicopter’s targeting system) and also helps in optimizing graphics rendering in the aforementioned foveated rendering.
Qualcomm expects the Snapdragon VR820 to be available in Q4 2016 and the commercial version based on this platform will follow suit, shortly thereafter.
Images courtesy of Qualcomm.