Snap’s new Spectacles promise to bring augmented reality to life
Snap on Thursday introduced the next generation of Spectacles, and the company is claiming they will change the game of augmented reality. The glasses aren’t for sale, but they’re meant to demonstrate the kind of experiences that could one day be available to the masses.
According to Snap, Spectacles feature dual waveguide displays and a 26.3-degree field of view. These displays are capable of superimposing AR effects built in Lens Studio, from poems you can walk through to seeing an Avatar-like world bloom before your eyes.
Snap said Lenses feature 15 millisecond motion to photon latency, and the display dynamically adjusts up to 2000 Nits of brightness, so you can enjoy AR indoors and outside. The Spectacles frame includes 2 RGB cameras, 4 microphones, 2 stereo speakers, and a built-in touchpad. These cameras will help Spectacles detect objects, so that the AR experiences will better interact with the real world.
In addition, Spectacles are built on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 platform, which is by now a few years old. Qualcomm has since introduced a the XR2, which introduces a number of improvements like twice the CPU and GPU performance over the original. Spectacles weigh 134 grams and offer around 30 minutes of battery life. Remember, this is just a concept at the moment and not a consumer product.
For now, it sounds like Snap is encouraging creators to build experiences to show what the new Spectacles are capable of. Snap said that through its Lens Studio, creators can wirelessly push Lenses to Spectacles for rapid testing and integration in real time.
The latest Spectacles are a far cry from the earlier versions we saw released in 2016 and 2018. Those devices were more focused on capturing photos and videos, which you could then post to Snapchat and other social networks. When the original Spectacles launched, Snap built buzz around them by selling them from bright yellow vending machines in select cities.
Judging by the design and reported battery life, we’re still years away from AR glasses becoming mainstream. But Snap isn’t the only company exploring the technology. Microsoft is actively developing HoloLens, while Apple is rumored to be working on a mixed reality headset with advanced eye-tracking.