Qualcomm: Augmented Reality glasses a long way off

When it comes to mobile Augmented Reality technology, Qualcomm is the top dog. The San Diego company has the biggest AR R&D unit in the world and the message from its recent Uplinq conference in California was clear - it thinks that AR is going to play a significant role in shaping the mobile media horizon.

But not with Terminator style AR glasses unfortunately - with Qualcomm's senior director of business development Jay Wright telling Pocket-lint that it's not something the chipset expert is looking at.

"For Qualcomm, we think the technology is interesting, we follow it closely but it's not on our near to mid-term horizon. This is beyond the five to eight year window," he said.

Wright stated that there were some technical obstacles that first needed to be overcome before AR glasses became common place. (There are limited examples in the market now, such as the Vuzix Wrap 920AR headset).

"There's a huge technology challenge in just getting stuff small enough so as you can have displays in front of your eyes," he said.

"As soon as you don't have a touchscreen anymore, you're just looking through the glasses - you don't have a mouse and you don't have a keyboard, so now you need an entirely new user experience or user input paradigm operated by your eyes - which is all new ground to cover."

He also questioned whether people would be prepared to wear glasses in the name of tech. "A computing device is actually a fashion accessory and traditionally things that become fashionable take a lot longer to adopt," he said. "It took a while before people were comfortable walking around with a Bluetooth accessory in their ear."

Back in March, professor Steve Feiner of Columbia University told Pocket-lint: "I honesty believe that at some point in the future we’re going to have AR eyewear that’s sufficiently light weight, comfortable, visually appealing, high quality enough and at the right price that people will want to wear while walking around."

He too admitted though that AR eyewear needed "to be socially acceptable and desirable" though and that the technical challenges were great.

"It has to be a low level interface,” he stressed. "We don’t want people to get run over while totally immersed in the sky or the trees or something else."

AR glasses? Would you be on board once the boffins get the tech right? Let us know, using the comments below.