Qualcomm launches augmented reaility contest

Mobile chip manufacturer Qualcomm has launched a software development kit for augmented reality applications - and is backing it with a $200,000 competition to keep things interesting.

The 2010 Augmented Reality Developer Challenge is Qualcomm's attempt to drum up interest in its freshly-launched Qualcomm AR SDK, which aims to make it easier for developers to build augmented reality applications for Android-based portable devices.

The QCAR SDK is a freely-available development kit that uses Google's own Android SDK to help speed up the development of augmented reality applications, and is being made by Qualcomm as a free cross-platform download for Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Once you've downloaded and played with the SDK, you can enter the contest - providing you're actually using QCAR to detect and track AR keys. You're welcome to use other tools, too, but - for obvious reasons - QCAR must form a part of your application.

You've got until November the 15th to have a play, after which Qualcomm will start taking submissions for entry. If you need a bit more time to perfect your AR masterpiece, the site doesn't close until January the 7th, with the winners being selected the month after.

Three applications will be chosen to receive prizes, with the best getting $125,000, the second-best $50,000, and the runner-up a still impressive $25,000.

With many in the industry seeing augmented reality as the next big thing in the mobile space, Qualcomm could be well positioned as a result of this contest to reap the benefits of growing consumer interest in AR apps.

The SDK can be downloaded from the Qualcomm Developer Network, and more details of the Augmented Reality Developer Challenge can be found on the official contest page.