Snap reveals AR-powered Spectacles - Main 1

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These are the company’s first smart glasses capable of viewing augmented reality content

Quick read

➨ Snap is calling these smart glasses the next-generation Spectacles
➨ They boast dual 3D waveguide displays and a 26.3 deg diagonal FOV
➨ Developers interested in getting their hands on Spectacles to begin working on content can apply via Snap’s website

The story

Snap has revealed its first set of augmented reality-powered smart glasses. But there is a catch—only content developers will be getting their hands on them any time soon.

The company (formerly known as Snapchat) and provider of the popular social photo sharing app is calling these smart glasses the next-generation Spectacles.

There are already three generations of those, but until now they have only utilised HD cameras to better capture photos and videos for sharing via the Snapchat app. Snap is also perfecting an attractive form factor, having so far used a lightweight steel frame.

At the same time, Snap has developed the software necessary to “reinvent the camera”, as the company puts it, and augmented reality is a huge part of that. It has invested a lot of time and resources into new tools for Snapchat users, both consumers and businesses, including a set also announced today. Its fashion partners are getting try-on experiences.

Snap reveals AR-powered Spectacles - Smart glasses
The new Spectacles

The new Spectacles bring all of this work together, taking advantage of the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform to deliver:

➨ Dual 3D waveguide displays and a 26.3 deg diagonal FOV (field of view) that overlays augmented reality content on the real world

➨ 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) and hand, marker, and surface tracking to ground content in the physical world

➨ 15 millisecond motion to photon latency that allows content to react quickly and appear accurately within the FOV

➨ A dynamically-adjusting display shines up to 2000 Nits of brightness for full image quality indoors or outside

➨ Two RGB cameras, four built-in microphones, two stereo speakers, and touchpad controls

These smart glasses are a significant step forward in terms of technology and modest package, especially over previous generations of Spectacles but also wearable augmented reality as it stands today.

Still, the catches. These Spectacles weigh 134 g, so they are heavier than your average pair of glasses, and all that technology means they only last approximately 30 minutes per charge.

This is because they are very much a work in progress for Snap, which is not making them commercially available.

Instead, the company is putting Spectacles in the hands of augmented reality content developers to get them working on content that will make the most of their functionality. Indeed, the new Spectacles are fully integrated with Lens Studio, Snap’s desktop app for creating and distributing augmented reality content (or Lenses).

Seven developers have already created content for the new Spectacles, including Leighton McDonald, whose BlackSoul Gallery surrounds users with virtual art created by Black artists.

Developers interested in getting their hands on Spectacles to begin working on content can apply via Snap’s website.

Take a look at the new Spectacles promo video below.

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Images: Snap

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