SAN DIEGO--Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) unveiled an augmented reality platform and accompanying software development kit here at its Uplinq 2010 conference, promising developers the tools to build applications blurring the lines between cyberspace and its real-world counterpart. Augmented reality solutions enable developers to superimpose computer-generated 3D content over live camera views of the physical environment, resulting in more intuitive and immersive games, location-based solutions and related applications. Initially optimized for Google's Android mobile operating system, the Qualcomm SDK is based on computer vision technology acquired from Imagination Computer Services GmbH--Qualcomm also collaborated with game engine developer Unity Technologies to extend AR support to its Unity for Android programming environment.
Qualcomm plans to introduce a beta version of the augmented reality SDK this fall. Tied to its public release, the firm will kick off its first Augmented Reality Application Developer Challenge, with an emphasis on immersive reality gaming tied to real-world surfaces, new media and marketing experiences, and informational apps to simplify tasks like furniture assembly or electronics setup. Qualcomm plans to begin accepting submissions in November, with winners to be named in February at Mobile World Congress 2011--the first-place winner will claim a cash prize valued at $125,000, with $50,000 for second place and $25,000 for third place. Submission guidelines are available here.