OnQ Blog

Experience six degrees of freedom in XR development

Oct 23, 2017

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Extended Reality (XR) encapsulates Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and everything in between. Previously in XR, users have only been able to look in the X/Y/Z axes yielding three degrees of freedom (3DoF). This was great for stationary 360-degree video experiences, but underwhelming when it came to total immersion. Unlocking movement on the X/Y/Z axes, in addition to looking in the X/Y/Z axes, gives developers a total of six degrees of freedom (6Dof) and a much more immersive user experience.

Image: Look-only 3DoF vs. look & movement 6DoF
Look-only 3DoF vs. look & movement 6DoF

Now that users can operate in 6DoF they want to move around more, but the current tethered VR solutions can hinder that ability. The Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 VR Development Kit is designed to support 6DoF in a standalone mobile solution. It does this by harnessing the power of the Qualcomm Adreno™ 540 GPU and the Qualcomm Hexagon™ DSP. The Adreno 540 GPU offers Open GL ES 3.2 and DirectX 12 support in a 10nm package, and the Hexagon DSP is dedicated to offloading the 6DoF calculations from the GPU while sampling at 800Hz. All of this power packed into a head mounted device (HMD) unlocks the potential for truly immersive experiences.

The Ins and Outs of Tracking

To create 6DoF the Snapdragon VR Dev Kit combines two monochromatic (1280 x 800) global shutter cameras and an inertial measurement unit with fast interface Snapdragon 835 integrated sensor core. It then uses the DSP Sensor Fusion that is built into the SDK to combine camera images along with high frequency positional data as well as high frequency inertial data from gyroscopes and accelerometers to provide the final tracking data.

Immerse Yourself in XR Development

Ready to get started with 6DoF? Check out these resources on Qualcomm Developer Network:

  • Snapdragon VR SDK - Provides developer access to optimized, advanced VR features on Snapdragon VR devices.
  • 3D Audio Tools - Suite of tools designed to help create true-to-life immersive 3D audio experiences including support for scene-based audio.
  • Snapdragon 835 VR Development Kit - Standalone and untethered all-in-one VR headset with 6DoF support, powered by the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform.

Hardware makers can also take advantage of our HMD Accelerator Program to utilize Qualcomm Technologies reference designs and/or work with a turnkey original design manufacturer.

Whatever your role in XR development, and whoever you’re building immersive realities for, Qualcomm Developer Network has the tech, tools, and resources to help. Sign up for email updates to keep up with the latest from QDN.


Qualcomm Adreno, Qualcomm Hexagon, and Qualcomm Snapdragon are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.


Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

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