Snapdragon Spaces Blog

Introducing QR Code Tracking for Snapdragon Spaces

A much-requested feature is now live: QR Code tracking unlocks new opportunities for developers, expanding the possibilities of connected devices enhanced by Extended Reality experiences.

Jan 15, 2024

What is QR Code Tracking?

QR codes are everywhere, from restaurant menus to factory floors. When we see one, we instinctively know what to do: point our device camera, scan the code and get instant access to information.

Scanning QR codes has also been a popular way to access augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality experiences, whether it’s to attend a virtual concert, join a WIFI network or get step-by-step instructions to fix your coffee machine.

In addition to easy access, QR codes can also serve as a trigger for XR experiences complementing (or completely replacing, if required) image or object targets, while keeping fast and reliable recognition and tracking to initialize AR, VR and MR experiences.

For developers, the simplified generation of QR Codes skips the hurdle of creating custom image targets and corresponding call to actions, while simultaneously encoding all necessary data to perform the XR-powered task. The universal QR code detection function further facilitates the development and maintenance of XR experiences, without the need for cloud services and frequent app updates.

At its first iteration, the feature supports QR Code versions up to 10 (DIN ISO 18004), enabling recognition, detection and tracking from an approximate distance of 1 meter or more (for targets scaled at a sufficient minimum size) using Snapdragon Spaces supported devices. Developers can benefit from scanning and decoding functions (similar to QR Code reader apps on phones), as well as real time tracking in 6DOF, allowing for hands-free use cases and even collaborative applications with multi-users.

“The recent addition of live QR code tracking from Snapdragon Spaces allows us at Sphere to provide users with a more seamless and precise user experience when it comes to spatial content and co-located collaboration in XR. It is also a great example of Qualcomm’s commitment to helping developers achieve their goals”, says Colin Yao, CTO at Sphere.

Why use QR Code Tracking in your XR experiences?

For the enterprise, Snapdragon Spaces will now unlock the possibility of scalable XR experiences, expanding the connectivity of machinery, factory floor and professionals. Using headworn devices, frontline workers can use QR Code Tracking to distinguish millions of uniquely identifiable instances while performing handsfree training, maintenance and remote assistance tasks.

This feature can equally support customer-focused use cases such as augmented product packaging, XR product display with 3D models, interactive educational materials, XR-powered showrooms and more.

QR Code Tracking can be combined with other features available on the Snapdragon Spaces SDK, such as Local Anchors, Positional Tracking, Plane Detection and more. For example, QR Codes can be used both as a target and as an initial Spatial Anchor (when fixed on a position), helping the user and the engine get spatial orientation in the real world.

Using QR Codes also allows companies to encode a variety of data formats like product serial numbers, machinery information, videos, URLs and more, which can trigger augmentations that will continuously be rendered in 3D.

“With Snapdragon Spaces now supporting QR Code Tracking, this is an important feature for XR applications as it continues to be an easy way to position objects, trigger specific actions or align users in an XR environment. It’s a feature we support with our XR streaming technology and it will make life easier for XR users” adds Philipp Landgraf, Senior Director XR Streaming at Hololight.

Next steps

SDK 0.19 is now available for download at the Snapdragon Spaces Developer Portal. Check out our SDK changelog for Unity and Unreal to learn what’s new and get started with our QR Code Tracking sample.

We’re excited to see how Snapdragon Spaces developers put this new feature to use and look forward to your feedback on Discord!

Snapdragon branded products are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.