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Qualcomm is bringing Kinect-style AR tech to next-gen Android phones

CHIPMAKER Qualcomm is bringing Kinect-style depth-sensing technology to Android devices with its second-generation Spectra Module Program. 

While Qualcomm’s previous modules and image signal processors (ISPs) focused on low-light photography and catered to the recent trend in dual rear camera technology, the firm’s new Spectra Module Program and second-generation Spectra ISP will open mobile devices up to high-resolution depth sensing and better biometric authentication.

The second-gen Spectra camera module will include a trio of camera modules, including an iris authentication module that boasts a 40mn recognition speed, a passive depth sensing module to bring basic AR smarts to low-end devices, and an active depth sensing module that uses projected infrared patterns to infer 3D depth and can create high resolution depth maps, even in low light.

When paired with the updated ISP, which includes the ability to track location through a 3D environment, Qualcomm says, the second-gen Spectra Program will bring “and new computer vision use cases that utilize deep learning techniques and bokeh quality image experiences” to next-generation Android devices, which means next year’s flagships will likely be lining up to take on Apple’s ARKit platform. 

Furthermore, the ISP features multi-frame noise reduction for superior photographic quality, hardware-accelerated motion compensated temporal filtering and inline electronic image stabilization (EIS) for superior camcorder-like video quality.

Tim Leland, vice president of product management at Qualcomm, said: “Whether used for computational photography, video recording, or for computer vision applications that require accurate motion tracking, it’s clear that power efficient camera image signal processing has become more important for the next generation of mobile user experiences.

“Our breakthrough advancements in visual quality and computer vision, combined with our family of integrated Spectra ISPs for Snapdragon, are designed to support an ecosystem of cutting edge mobile applications for our customers.”

Qualcomm Spectra camera modules and ISP technology will likely debut with the company’s “next flagship Snapdragon Mobile Platform”, a hint that it’ll debut alongside the upcoming Snapdragon 845. µ

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