Have you heard of Spectacles? They look like ordinary glasses, which can be used for fun by teenagers or adults, but there’s more to it. UK teaching surgeon Dr Shafi Ahmed was wearing Spectacles during a routine procedure.  There was a reason that this doctor was wearing these glasses –called Spectacles –in the operation room: he was “livestreaming” the operation on Snapchat! His followers were therefore able to watch the operation (almost) live.

Snapchat spectacles glass a learning device?

Spectacles is the first device of Snap Inc. (originally named Snapchat Inc.). The new sunglasses are integrated with a small camera, allowing the wearer to record short videos of what he is seeing. Somewhat three years ago Google tried something similar with Google Glass. After the initial excitement, we don’t here as much about it anymore. Will Snapchat Spectacles, in contrast to Google Glass work? These four reasons say so.

  1. The design

Snap Inc. understands that technology is not just about performance, but also about feeling. Where Google Glass was just a piece of electronica, Snap is making their glasses in different cheerful colours. And on publicity photos we see enthusiastic hipsters with colourful backgrounds. The message: it’s about fun.

  1. Simplicity

The glasses are made with one purpose: recording short videos. Taking a photo? Nope, not possible. The recordings are spread by the Snapchat app among followers. Is that it? Yep, that is it. One function. One purpose. It wasn’t that clear with Google Glass. Yes, you were able to take photos. But as was sending messages and searching the Internet. There was not a decisive reason to purchase Google Glass.


  1. Privacy

From the start privacy was an issue with the Google glass. Google wasn’t quite clear when the glasses were used. That made the glasses ‘creepy’. Quickly after the (beta) release the glasses were made forbidden in public places. Snapchat came up with a (partially) solution to make clear when the glasses are record-modus; namely, led lights show that one is “Snapping”.

  1. Timing

A lot has changed since 2013, when Google released his Glass. Of course, videos on the Internet existed back then. But now, studies show that youngsters pretty much only watch videos, which happens to be the target group of Snapchat. Thereby, video use on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook has exploded the last few years. So, Spectacles came at the right time.

Spectacles not only for fun

It all sounds pretty cool, and it is. The glasses are not only fun for teenagers to communicate with each other, but they can have a more serious aim as well. Think about the fact that a doctor used them during an operation. About 200 medical students and trainees initially viewed the operation. While Snapchat only allows its users to record short videos, Dr Ahmed had to plan how he wanted to record the operation. He had to think through the operation and what he would show in each video. He wanted to demonstrate the techniques and break it down in a structured way. Does this mean that the Spectacles could have enormous value in terms of teaching?

Sources: Volkskrant & BBC Image credit: Spectacles