After three versions of the Spectacles, Snapchat unveiled a new pair of augmented reality glasses at the opening of its annual developer conference. But while these wireless glasses that follow the movement of the hands can layer 3D effects on the real world, they are for now aimed specifically at developers and creators. No prices are indicated and they are only available on request.
It’s been a while since Snapchat revealed that it was wearing augmented reality glasses. It is not the only one since many companies, including Facebook, Niantic and Qualcomm, are trying to create such a tool that can be used on a daily basis. Previous versions of the Spectacles focused primarily on photography and video. The Spectacles 3 released last year can overlay sequences with 3D effects in augmented reality, but you need a mobile application to view them because the glasses do not have a screen.
The new version features 2,000 nits of brightness, a 26.3-inch diagonal field of view and a dual waveguide display. They have a touchpad on the side and look like thick sunglasses. They use a ” Snap Spatial Engine », Follow the movements of the hand, can detect the surrounding world with six degrees of freedom. They weigh 134 grams.
An autonomy of only 30 minutes
Another cool feature is that they’re wireless, something other AR glasses of this size haven’t managed to do yet. But there are also downsides. Their autonomy does not exceed 30 minutes and their definition is limited to 480 x 564 pixels for each eye. The glasses have their own charging case.
The glasses can deliver augmented reality effects and be used to play AR games. The field of view seems narrower than that of Microsoft’s HoloLens and Magic Leap augmented reality headsets, but it’s also much smaller. The glasses can also shoot using two RGB cameras with a 115-degree field of view, at 1920×1440 pixels and 30 frames per second. Snap says he’s used them before with a limited group of creators. The release date and price are not yet known.
The opinion of a creator
Our colleagues from CNET.com were able to speak with Clay Weishaar, one of the seven creators specializing in augmented reality to whom Snapchat entrusted the first versions of these glasses. Here are the impressions they gathered.
What struck us right away is that these glasses can take advantage of Lenses Snap and augmented reality tools that are already being used by independent creators on Snapchat, which is very different from the more siled and limited way in which the HoloLens and Magic Leap initially addressed their hardware.
” Snap made sure you didn’t even change your workflow: you just put on your glasses, press a button, and your vision comes true in front of you, which is super cool. », Rejoiced Clay Weishaar. For him, location-based experiences, health and well-being are two areas of interest for these AR glasses. ” I really wanted to create this kind of relaxation and well-being experience inside the glasses “. For him, “ You don’t notice the narrow field of view at all, as your head is tracked and objects follow with you, so they really stay in line of sight “.
He considers the big difference to be the size and lightness of these glasses compared to other augmented reality headsets. The creator believes that future development of Snapchat Lenses will adapt to these glasses to create longer, more app-like experiences that don’t involve user faces or facial effects.
Current glasses only have a 30-minute battery life, which seems like a calculated compromise to prioritize size and weight over performance. Maybe future versions will be tougher, but that seems like a major limitation.
Clay Weishaar also claims that so far, outdoors, the augmented reality effects of the glasses have worked very well. A key benefit considering that many augmented reality headsets, like the HoloLens, have had a hard time working in bright areas. Snapchat glasses, if nothing else, may have found a way to fix this problem.
Article from CNET.com adapted by CNETFrance