Snap has been working on a camera drone the New York Times reported this week. The news fits with Snap’s plans to move into the hardware space which began with the last year’s unveiling of their Spectacles sunglasses that record 10 second video clips. In their public offering prospectus, Snap said, “We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way that people live and communicate.”
Beyond the revelation of Snap’s drone research, the company is declining to comment. However Snap’s recent acquisitions offer some clues as to how a Snap drone might work. In 2014 Snap acquired Vergance Labs, a start up with plans for gadgets like AI enabled helmets with facial recognition, camera glasses that shoot video, and gesture controlled drones. The glasses, they called Epiphany Eyeware seem to be be tech behind Snap’s Spectacles.
In mid 2013 an engineer for Vergance posted a video to Y Combinator showing a drone being controlled by hand gestures through Epiphany Eyeware. The glasses look for hand gestures which a tablet uses to control the drone that can be used to take selfies or other hard to get shots.
Not only could Snap drones be gesture controlled, they may also track their owner. Business Insider reported in December that Snap is talking with Lily Robotics, a drone company whose drones automatically automatically follow their owner.
Snap’s SEC filing hints at bold ambitions: “In the way that the flashing cursor became the starting point for most products on desktop computers, we believe that the camera screen will be the starting point for most products on smartphones…We are willing to take risks in an attempt to create innovative and different camera products that are better able to reflect and improve our life experiences.”
Shares of Snap rose to $21-23 a share from $17 as trading got underway today on the New York Stock Exchange.