Snap just announced new Spectacles with AR capabilities, which it plans to ship to eligible AR experience creators this year.
Snap inc has shipped three Spectacles branded glasses products to date. The previous models didn’t have any form of display system – they functioned solely as wearable cameras, exporting captured clips to the Snapchat app.
The new reveal isn’t a total surprise- The Information reported on Snap’s plan back in March, though we didn’t know the details until now.
The new Spectacles have dual waveguide displays with a diagonal field of view of just 26.3 degrees, an impressive 2000 nits of brightness, and end-to-end latency of less than 15 milliseconds so virtual objects appear solid in place.
That’s a much narrower field of view than AR headsets like HoloLens 2 (52° diagonal) & Magic Leap One (50° diagonal) – and those already feel narrow. That said, at 2000 nits Spectacles are 4x brighter than HL2 and 10x than Magic Leap, making them suitable for use outdoors.
Qualcomm’s XR1 chip is used with two RGB cameras, one on each side, to perform spatial tracking of the world as well as hand tracking and video capture.
They weigh 134 grams – around three pairs of regular specs – with a battery life of around 30 minutes. A touchpad on the side can be used for precise input, and there are dedicated area scan & clip capture buttons too.
Spectacles aren’t a general purpose computer – you don’t build apps for them in Unity. Instead they integrate directly with Snap’s existing AR platform, which has hundreds of millions of active users. Creators can build ‘Lenses’ (AR experiences) for Spectacles & the Snapchat app using Lens Studio.
This isn’t a product you can buy, at least not yet, but you can apply for Spectacles as a prospective creator on Snapchat’s website.