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Snap to Buy WaveOptics in $500M Deal

WaveOptics supplies the augmented reality displays for Spectacles.




Snap Inc., a camera and social media company, will acquire UK-based WaveOptics in a $500 million deal.

WaveOptics supplies the augmented reality displays for the Spectacles eyewear that Snap produces, The Verge reports.

The acquisition underscores Snap’s “long-term bet that AR eyewear will eventually go mainstream,” according to The Verge.

WaveOptics, founded in 2014, employs about 125 people. The company focuses on wave guides, which enable “the overlaying of virtual objects onto the real world through a transparent surface like glass,” The Verge notes.

Snap on May 20 rolled out the latest version of Spectacles. The catch: They’re not for sale.


Read the press release:

Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP) today unveiled the next generation of Spectacles, Snap’s first pair of display glasses designed for creators to overlay their Lenses directly onto the world.

Spectacles are the next step in Snap’s journey to reinvent the camera. Over time, Snap’s innovations across camera hardware and software technology have evolved to help Snapchatters express themselves, communicate with friends, and learn about the world. Each generation of Spectacles has served as a building block in our journey with the creator community, and now the new Spectacles bring imagination to life in a natural way—with our eyes looking out at the world in front of us.

Not for sale, Spectacles enable augmented reality creators to discover new ways to fuse creativity and utility through immersive experiences built in Lens Studio.


Designed from a human-centric approach, new Spectacles tap into the senses of sight, touch and sound to bring Lenses to life:

  • Dual 3D waveguide displays and a 26.3 degree diagonal field of view overlay immersive AR Lenses on the world, before your eyes
  • The new Snap Spatial Engine leverages six degrees of freedom and hand, marker, and surface tracking to realistically ground Lenses in the physical world
  • 15 millisecond motion to photon latency allows Lenses to react quickly and appear accurately within the field of view
  • A dynamically-adjusting display shines up to 2000 Nits of brightness for full image quality while exploring AR indoors or outside
  • 2 RGB cameras, 4 built in microphones, 2 stereo speakers, and built-in touchpad controls offer a multi-sensorial experience that orients technology around humanity
  • At 134 grams, Spectacles let creators bring Snap’s world of AR anywhere for approximately 30 minutes per charge

Spectacles leverages the high-quality Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 Platform to unlock maximum processing power within the lightweight and cordless sunglasses form factor.


Spectacles are fully integrated with Lens Studio, Snap’s powerful desktop application designed for augmented reality creators and developers to build and distribute Lenses across Snap’s AR platform. Through Lens Studio, creators can wirelessly push their Lenses to Spectacles directly for rapid testing and iteration, allowing creators to build and interact with their Lenses in real time.

The temple’s touchpad provides interaction within the Spectacles display and launches the Lens Carousel, allowing creators to experience a variety of Lenses, including ones they have built themselves in Lens Studio. The right button activates Scan, which understands what is seen in Spectacles’ field of view and suggests the most relevant Lens experiences. Voice Scan also empowers creators to say a command to launch Lenses, completely hands-free. By tapping the left button, creators can capture 10-second Snaps of Lenses overlaid on the world, and send Snaps right from Spectacles. An LED light clearly indicates when Spectacles are capturing and saving a Snap.

Spectacles Creators

Snap has offered new Spectacles to a select group of global creators to realize their visions overlaid on the world and push the boundaries of augmented reality. Through Spectacles and Lens Studio, these creators have already brought their imaginations to life, with the world as their canvas:

  • Don Allen Stevenson III | XR Developer | Vibe Quest AR
  • Lauren Cason | Creative Technologist | Taos, Caldera, and Anita
  • Kat V. Harris | Technical Designer | Dance Helper
  • Zach Lieberman | Artist | Poem World (with Shantell Martin)
  • Matthew Hallberg | AR Developer | SketchFlow
  • Clay Weishaar | AR Creator | Metascapes
  • Leighton McDonald | VR/AR Creator | BlackSoul Gallery

Augmented reality creators can apply to experiment with Spectacles by visiting



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