Snapchat to Release Its Own Augmented Reality Headset

By Jiran , Sep 07, 2016 03:20 AM EDT

While devices like Google Glass have never maide it to the mainstream market, Snapchat is also reported to be working on its own augmented reality headset. Snapchat has given the strongest hint yet of its desires to move from apps into hardware by collaborating with the industry group that runs the Bluetooth wireless standard.

Joining this group is an essential prerequisite for companies who want to input Bluetooth in any hardware device and Snapchat is listed under Bluetooth SIG's company identifiers, a list of companies that are given unique numbers by the SIG if they have requested for one.

Similar companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook who have all also recently articulated interest in augmented reality, which connects virtual stuff in the real-world images. Snapchat already shows similar technology in its app's filters or "masks", which customizes a user's selfies with playful animations.

This move of the company, which trails a filament of new recruits and acquisitions from the world of consumer electronics, will surely fuel up the rumor that the photo-sharing start-up is building a pair of augmented reality (AR) goggles.

People familiar with Snapchat's plans say that its hardware project has gathered momentum since the beginning of this year. Snapchat has been asking contract manufacturers to work on with the prototype of the headsets this summer.

The project began earlier this year and the company started hiring employees from Nest and GoPro to work on the said project - it has been acquiring start-ups specialized in computer vision and augmented reality and also hired a recruiter from Google's Aura Labs which is responsible for its Glass eyewear. The company has also brought in electrical engineers, marketers and product managers from hardware start-ups such as Ring, which makes a doorbell with wireless video, Canary, which makes a security home camera, Sphero, the robotics developer, and the Facebook-owned Oculus, the virtual reality headset-maker.

Snapchat has not commented on its collaboration with the Bluetooth group or other aspects of its future plans.

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