INNOVATION The new Shows, which for the first time include a display allowing the virtual on the real world to be superimposed, are for the moment reserved for artists and developers.
Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, repeats it regularly: it is not a messaging company but a “ camera companion ”. She proved it again Thursday, by unveiling her first real connected glasses, to enjoy augmented reality directly in her field of vision, and more simply on the small screen of a smartphone. Facebook and Apple, who have big ambitions in this niche, have been warned.
If the three previous generations were simple glasses integrating two cameras, the new Spectacles take up the torch abandoned by Google Glass. For the first time, they integrate display technology to superimpose virtual 3D objects on top of the real world, such as multicolored jellyfish by the ocean or this butterfly that has landed on the hand of Snap’s boss, Evan. Spiegel.
30 minutes of autonomy
Obviously, with all the components necessary for this technological feat, these Spectacles are three times heavier than the previous generation (134 grams). They are, however, significantly more compact and lighter than Microsoft’s HoloLens headset, or even the Magic Leap goggles.
The field of vision – the area in which we see virtual objects – is unfortunately very small, at only 26.3 ° diagonal. On the other hand, with a brightness of 2,000 nits, the glasses can be used outdoors as well as indoors. There remains a big black point: an autonomy of 30 minutes per charge. No need to have your smartphone nearby to enjoy an augmented scene, but you need wifi to share a Snap.
Developers can rely on Snap’s extensive augmented reality library, Lens Studio. But that does mean that it’s not possible to port an app like Pokemon Go, which uses the Unity engine – which would be way too draining on the battery. In the end, these Shows look more like a beta product. Snap does not intend to market them immediately: the glasses are reserved for artists and developers through a program for creators. However, the company specifies at 20 Minutes that it is open to artists from all over the world.
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