Snap Contemplating AR Glasses Powered by Generative AI
Snap, the Snapchat parent company, forayed into the XR market with the launch of its Spectacles photo-and-video recording glasses. In spite of their functionality and relative affordability, the device is yet to break into the mass market. Recently, the company also scrapped its camera-equipped drone.
In spite of the early flops, Snap still sees a future where augmented reality glasses will be used conventionally and plans to invest in that future. During its fourth-quarter earnings call, the company revealed that the AR glasses it will be pursuing will be powered by generative AI technology, the latest buzz in tech circles at the moment.
Snap investors were interested in knowing the company’s position on the latest developments in AI, especially in the exciting new frontiers like generative AI which has advanced thanks to algorithms, and language models as well as an increase in the processing power necessary to run calculations.
The AI image generator Midjourney’s bot for Discord was cited as an example of AI being used for increasing user engagement in Snapchat.
Snap boss Evan Spiegel admitted that in the near term, there aren’t plenty of opportunities for the implementation of generative AI in increasing the power of the Snap camera. But he noted that generative AI will play a crucial role in the growth of AR, including augmented reality glasses.
Spiegel noted that generative AI could initially be used to do stuff such as improving the clarity and resolution of a Snap once a user has captured it. He said that the AI technology could even be applied in the “more extreme transformations”, in image editing as well as in creating Snaps according to text input. It should, however, be noted that generative AI, as understand it, isn’t necessarily needed in enhancing photo resolution.
The Snap boss didn’t give any timeframes on the company’s planned developments and products. However, he stated that Snap was contemplating integrating AI tools into its current Lens Studio technology for augmented reality developers.
Spiegel said that the company had considerable success with the integration of Snap ML tools into Lens Studio which has enabled creators to “build some incredible things.” He said that Snap now has 300,000 creators who created over 3 million lenses in Lens Studio. Alluding to the future integrations of Artificial Intelligence tech, he believes the “democratization” of tools will be powerful.
During the earnings call, the Snap boss also provided a little insight into what he perceives as the potential of Artificial Intelligence when applied in Augmented Reality glasses.
Snap’s augmented reality product, the Spectacles, haven’t been a runaway success but the company is trudging on with the development of the product.
The current version of Snap’s smart glasses is the Spectacles 3 which has additional functions beyond the recording of videos and photos. The Spectacles 3 has additional tools such as AR graphics and 3D filters. Snap said that AI could also be integrated into this product as the glasses also enhance the process of building for augmented reality.
Spiegel believes AI will be “critical” in the development of augmented reality over the long haul as one of the current limitations to the growth of AR is the limited number of available 3D models that have been created by artists.
The use of generative AI will help build out more 3D models rapidly thereby unlocking the full potential of augmented reality while also making users’ “imagination real in the world.”
One of the application scenarios of such in augmented reality glasses, cited by Snap, is where a parent plays with a kid wearing AR glasses, and the elements that the parent shouts such as a pirate ship and monsters are brought to life via generative AI technology.