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What Developers Have Been Building With Snap's AR Glasses

Snap shared a compilation of what developers have been building with its Spectacles AR glasses.

Spectacles was revealed almost a year ago. It’s a standalone device powered by Qualcomm’s XR1 chip featuring two cameras to perform spatial tracking of the world as well as hand tracking and video capture. A touchpad on the side can be used for precise input, and there are dedicated buttons for area scan & clip capture.

The displays have an impressive 2000 nits of brightness – 4x brighter than HoloLens 2 and 10x brighter than Magic Leap One – making Spectacles one of the only AR devices usable outdoors. However, the field of view is a tiny 26.3 degrees diagonal and the battery lasts just 30 minutes.

Spectacles aren’t a general purpose computer – you don’t build apps for them in a game engine. Instead they integrate directly with Snap’s existing AR platform, which has hundreds of millions of active users on smartphones. Developers build ‘Lenses’ – AR experiences – for both Spectacles & the Snapchat app using the company’s Lens Studio.

Over the past year Lens Studio has added new features, including speech recognition, 3D hand tracking, and (arguably) most importantly colocation- multiple Spectacles users in the same physical space seeing the same virtual objects in the same place, enabling multiplayer. Snap calls this Connected Lenses.

Spectacles is still only available to select developers – it isn’t yet a product consumers can buy. You can apply for Spectacles as a prospective developer on Snap’s website.

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