Evidence is mounting that photo=sharing app Snapchat may be working on some augmented reality glasses.
The first signs that Snapchat was considering making a wearable product appeared in 2014, when the company acquired Vergeance Labs. The firm specializes in smart glasses. Now it looks like Snapchat is working on some augmented reality glasses, writes Maya Kosoff for Vanity Fair.
Snapchat working on smart glasses prototype
In August Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was spotted with what could have been some prototype smart glasses, which looked like circular dark glasses with a camera on either side. In fact there is increasing amounts of evidence that the company is set to develop its own hardware.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Snapchat has become part of a Bluetooth group which would allow the company to build hardware with Bluetooth wireless technology built in. This could be a connected headset of some kind.
The idea that the company was working on a hardware device was also reported by CNET earlier this year, in an article which proposed a Google Glass-style device. The report pointed out that Snapchat had hired several new members of staff, including eyewear designer Lauryn Morries.
Move into hardware looking more and more likely
A new hardware-focused team is being built at Snapchat, with a number of new hires chosen for their skills in hardware and augmented reality. One of those hires is Dan Stein, formerly of Google, where he worked in the development of Google Glass and other wearable devices. Two hardware designers also joined after spending time at Nokia.
Should Snapchat get involved in hardware, it will be able to learn a lot from other company’s successes and failures after making similar moves. While Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of virtual reality firm Oculus has been widely praised, Google has been criticized for its Google Glass wearable.
Hopefully Snapchat can make its Snap Lab experimental division work, with an apparent focus on augmented reality. One job post on the company website reveals that the company is looking for a “3D computer vision engineer,” who would be expected to “prototype groundbreaking new user experiences involving 3D graphics, including experiences that require visual understanding of the scene.”
While this particular description may be vague, it fits with other recent hires to build a picture which suggests that the company is working towards a new wearable.