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Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 VR Dev Kit to Support Leap Motion Hand Tracking

The ability to see your hands in VR is essential to immersive gameplay, and its something that has been lacking for mobile platforms.


Leap Motion has been working hard on hand tracking for VR aimed specifically at mobile, and the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile chip is the first system on a chip that is powerful enough to use it in upcoming head-mounted displays using mobile phones. In virtual reality, it's all about immersion. One of the keys to that is being able to see your hands to interact with items in a simulation. HTC and Valve have low latency Vive controllers, while the Oculus Touch controllers just feel good when using them. Mobile, on the other hand, has been confined to Bluetooth gamepads or the Daydream controller, which are far from optimal for the experience.

The tracking technology, dubbed Orion, is now being supported by the Snapdragon 835 VR development kit. The 835 is Qualcomm's upgraded chip that now has the technical chops to handle Leap Motion in future HMDs. The 835 improves on the 820, which for the first time offered 6 DoF tracking, with higher processing power and better power management. The 835 is already planned for use in some of the newest smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, and the Microsoft Surface phone.

The VRSDK is expected to be available sometime in Q2 through Qualcomm's Developer Network, and should be a major boon for VR immersion to some of the new HMDs planned in the latter half of the year that will utilize the 835, and in turn Leap Motion's Orion hand tracking software.

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