Snapchat has unveiled a new version of its Spectacles, augmented reality glasses which the company says will overlay virtual items onto the real world in front of the wearer.
Previous versions of Spectacles have focused on taking photos and videos from a first-person perspective, but Snap Inc boss Evan Speigel said this new version would enable people to “bring their imagination to life”.
While wearing the Spectacles, users will be able to see Snapchat lenses and other virtual items appear in front of them as if actually placed in the physical world.
However, for now, Snapchat said the new Spectacles are not for sale and instead are aimed at augmented reality creators and developers who build Snapchat lenses.
Step into the future with the next generation of Spectacles. Our first display glasses built for creators to explore new ways to fuse fun and utility through immersive AR. #SnapPartnerSummithttps://t.co/r4XnSC886z pic.twitter.com/4bPi49KE7n— Spectacles (@Spectacles) May 20, 2021
The announcement came during the company’s annual Snap Partner Summit, where it announced a number of updates to Snapchat and its developer tools.
Among the other announcements, the firm unveiled plans to make its camera more inclusive and better at capturing different skin tones.
Mr Spiegel said the platform was building new camera software that worked for all users “regardless of who they are and what they look like”.
Historically, cameras haven’t captured darker complexions well, which is why we’re building a more inclusive Camera that works for every Snapchatter regardless of their skin tone. #SnapPartnerSummit pic.twitter.com/IeMgAKPuNJ— Snap Inc. (@Snap) May 20, 2021
The announcement comes as the social media platform revealed it was now used by more than 280 million people globally every day, and more than 500 million every month – with around 40% of the Snapchat userbase now found outside North America and Europe.
“As we continue to develop new experiences for Snapchatters, it’s the trust that we have built with our community over the last decade that allows us to rapidly experiment with new technologies.
With the evolution of the camera from a communications tool to an augmented reality platform – that trust has never been more important,” Mr Spiegel said.
One of the ways we try to improve our business is by looking critically at our products to make sure they are inclusive of all members of our global community.
The camera itself was initially optimised to capture the appearance of white skin.
While cameras have evolved and become better at capturing different skin tones, there is a lot more work to do. And we are determined to contribute to these efforts.
“We want to build a more inclusive camera that works for each Snapchatter regardless of who they are and what they look like.”
Mr Spiegal also highlighted the environment as a key area of focus for the company – revealing the firm was now carbon neutral and committed to launching an in-app educational awareness campaign later this year on the environment.
During the summit, Snapchat announced a wide range of updates, features and new tools for the app as well as developers, including a new Story Studio app which will give users a range of professional editing tools to make content to be posted on Snapchat.
Snapchat’s Reesha Sodha said the new app would offer a “suite of easy to use, powerful editing tools to make professional content for mobile, on mobile”.
“It’s a fast and fun way to make original, engaging vertical videos that share right to Snapchat – and anywhere else,” she said.