OnQ Blog

Developers: Nreal’s vision for a lighter pair of mixed reality glasses

Over the last few years, the size and weight of head-mounted displays for mixed reality (MR) applications has continued to decrease while also becoming much more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. But when compared to traditional glasses worn daily by millions of people, the weight and style of MR wearables remains an issue, especially for consumers who often make product purchases based on both form and function. In realizing this, one company has set out to try and satisfy both of these critical elements in the MR segment with new light-weight MR glasses.

Nreal, a startup from Beijing, has recently introduced their Nreal Light MR glasses that connect to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform-powered Android device via USB-C, which provides the rendering and compute capabilities for MR. Weighing in at just 88 grams and sporting a style that more closely resembles a pair of modern sunglasses, the NrealLight provides a 52 degree field of view and allows users to attach prescriptive lenses using magnetic clips.

The mobile phone performs the rendering and sends the final frames to the dual lenses found in the glasses, at a resolution of 1080P per eye at 60 FPS. The glasses feature multiple sensors as well as a pair of SLAM cameras to provide inside-out tracking. And Nreal says that support for eye tracking is scheduled to be coming soon. When combined with the compute capabilities provided by the connected mobile phone, developers can potentially build a wide range of applications using SLAM, 6DoF tracking, plane detection, and image tracking. And these experiences can be further augmented by incorporating other powerful technologies from the mobile phone including artificial intelligence, connectivity, etc.

Developers will be particularly interested in Nreal’s upcoming hardware developer kit, which consists of a standalone controller and standalone Snapdragon 845-powered compute unit that communicate with each other over Bluetooth. On the software side, Nreal provides their “NRSDK” for Unity 2018.2.x or higher with android support. The Unity version of the NRSDK includes a rich set of functionality such as integration with Unity’s event system, visualizations for controllers, rays, and reticles, and the “ControllerProvider” object which reports state information including rotations, button presses, etc. Developer documentation is available at https://developer.nreal.ai/develop/discover/introduction-nrsdk and includes a few examples to help get you started.

To provide you with additional details, we recently caught up with Tien-Yu Lee, Marketing Manager of Nreal, to learn more about the vision and capabilities of NrealLight:

Can you tell us about your goals for Nreal Light and its target audience?

Our aim is to make MR accessible to everyone by building MR glasses that are both consumer-facing yet usable in enterprise applications. Consumer use cases will of course include content consumption and entertainment, but we see MR being applied increasingly in other specialized use cases including education, shopping, and productivity. On the enterprise side, the possibilities seem endless. We’ve had conversations with companies in logistics, manufacturing, retail, and others, who have expressed interest in the potential that MR brings to these industries.

What makes Nreal Light unique?

We’ve developed the first consumer-facing MR glasses that are stylish, lightweight, affordable, and scalable. Functionality wise, we rely on the flagship 8xx series chipsets from QTI as they provide us with the computing and rendering capabilities necessary to bring this solution to commercialization. Together, this makes for a powerful solution in a reasonably small form factor, that takes advantage of the capabilities provided by the user’s mobile phone.

Do developers need a background in MR and how should they get started?

While a background in augmented or virtual reality development is preferred, it is certainly not required. We’re trying to make the development process very easy, and we are here to support developers through a variety of resources.

Do developers need a background in MR and how should they get started?

While a background in augmented or virtual reality development is preferred, it is certainly not required. We’re trying to make the development process very easy, and we are here to support developers through a variety of resources.

Get started

Developers can start with the resources provided on our developer website at https://developer.nreal.ai or join our Slack community via http://1t.click/jBX. Developers can also purchase the developer kit directly from https://shop.nreal.ai/, as we have just made the pre-order available for developers.

More generally, we’re always here to support developers and we can’t wait to work with them to build mixed reality applications. We are pleased to work together with QTI to push the boundaries of MR.

Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

 

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