American social media company Snap has announced its new Snap Spectacles – the company’s latest augmented reality glasses. The new Snap Spectacles are Snap’s first true AR glasses but they come with a big catch – you can’t buy them yet. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel unveiled the new Spectacles with a demo that showed virtual butterflies fluttering over colourful plants and landing on Spiegel’s hand. The new spectacles are the fourth generation of the company’s AR glasses and are being called the most ambitious ones yet. Let us take a look into why:
The new Snap Spectacles have dual waveguide displays that are capable of superimposing AR effects made with Snapchat’s software tools. The frame of the glasses hold four built-in microphones, two stereo speakers, and a built-in touchpad. There are front-facing cameras on the glasses that help them detect objects and surfaces that users are looking at so that the graphics interact more naturally with the world around you.
However impressive they may sound, Snapchat is not selling this year’s Spectacles smart glasses. The company is instead giving them directly to an undisclosed number of AR effects creators through an application program online. A report in The Verge said that the glasses only have 30 minutes of battery backup, making the spectacles un-usable in the real world.
The new Spectacles are made by a secretive hardware divison at Snap called Snap Lab, which is also reportedly working on a camera drone. The glasses weigh 134 grams – more than double the weight of previous version and are designed to be worn indoors or outdoors with up to 2,000 nits of brightness.
The idea behind the new AR glasses is to encourage a small portion of the 200,000 people who make AR filters and effects for Snapchat to experiment with new experiences for the new Spectacles, Spiegel was quoted as saying. The Snapchat co-founder also said that AR glasses will take roughly a decade to become mainstream.