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New Snap Spectacles Offer Vivid Augmented Reality Visuals

The company’s newly released fourth-generation glasses come with in-built AR displays


The new Spectacles glasses from Snap are set to bring enhanced augmented reality (AR) features for users.

Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap, recently revealed the company’s new AR glasses, with technology that can become common for use with mobile devices. The company released a demo showcasing a video of virtual butterflies hovering over plants and sitting down on Spiegel’s hands.

The newly released Spectacles feature dual waveguide type displays that can superimpose AR effects created with the software components of Snapchat. The new device comes with four inbuilt microphones, an inbuilt touchpad, and two stereo speakers. Cameras installed on the glasses are capable of object and surface detection and can help graphical elements interact intuitively with the surrounding world.

The Spectacles are yet to be rolled out to consumers and are not being sold by Snap unlike older devices. These new devices are being offered to augmented reality effect makers via an online programme. Currently, the glasses offer a small battery life and further development is expected in the future.

Spiegel said that the objective behind the new development is to encourage the thousands of Snapchat AR effects makers to try it and build new experimental experiences. The company intends to make a full-fledged offering available to users with a wide array of features and experiences. It wants to build up some momentum for the wider launch of the product to customers. According to Spiegel, the augmented reality glasses may need a decade’s time before being accepted by the mainstream.

In an interview given to The Verge, Spiegel said that he does not share the belief that users will stop using phones. He elaborated that the next-gen Spectacles can help to reinvent how hands-free AR is used. It will allow users to move around more freely and not have to stay glued to their devices.

The earlier Spectacles devices, released in 2016 and 2018, were more similar to sunglasses and came with a single camera setup. Users could record videos with those devices and also click photos in a sphere format, which they could then share on social media platforms.

Snap started working on augmented reality technology in 2019 following the launch of the third-gen Spectacles. That version of the glasses had a second camera for video depth detection and could be used for applying effects. Users would record videos, upload to Snapchat, and use augmented reality effects on them.

The new fourth-generation devices have been developed by Snap Lab, the company’s hardware branch. They are twice as heavier as the older generation devices and can be worn both outdoors and indoors. The battery life is not impressive but offers a high level of brightness on its display.

The Snap software for Lenses is being used by the front-facing cameras of the Spectacles. The dual speakers also facilitate both audio recording and voice commands.

The glasses were announced at the virtual Partner Summit of Snapchat recently.

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