Snap has introduced a third generation of its Spectacles wearable sunglass cameras, and these include new 3D effects for use in Snapchat. You can capture 3D snaps, with a slight side-to-side depth effect thanks to dual angle cameras; 3D filters, which add AR graphics effects to captured video; 3D lenses, which add stickers and characters to your Snaps; and 3D viewing, which lets you use and included stereoscopic viewer to get the same perspective as someone who’s captured video using their Spectacles when viewing their Snaps.
To achieve the 3D effects, this new hardware includes not one but two cameras, one at each outside top corner of the sunglass lenses. Both of these capture in HD, and record at 60 fps. Audio is captured using a four-microphone array, which Snap says helps improve the audio considerably on captured content.
The glasses themselves are constructed from a single sheet of stainless steel, and they’re designed to be lightweight for all-day wearing. They come in carbon black, and a “mineral” colorway that looks like a dusty rose. Each comes with a charging case for storage and powering up, and which folds completely flat when the glasses aren’t inside for easier carrying.
Spectacles 3 are coming this fall, though Snap doesn’t say exactly when, and there’s a pre-order open now. The new sunglasses retail for $380, which is more than their predecessors ($150 and $200 respectively for the original and Nico/Veronica Spectacles 2 variants) and they are not water resistant, unlike the gen 2 glasses. But that second camera definitely ups the game in terms of technical capabilities, so you can see where the additional cost comes from.
The big changes here are clearly the 3D effects that are now possible in Snapchat, which should help tie these back more tightly to Snap’s software. Spectacles 2 offered better export formats for more general sharing, but it seems likely that the company is hoping to help showcase its AR filters and features with the unique capture capabilities of Spectacles 2. Point-of-view viewing is also unique to Snapchat, and should help Snap emphasize more Snapchat’s identify as the platform on which you feel most comfortable sharing with close friends.