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Snap’s Lion of a March

Snap’s big-name partnerships, best experiences, and a promising acquisition.


Sometimes, things move so fast at Snap it can be difficult to keep up. This month has been like that. So, whip off your lens, switch to your world-facing camera, and let’s jump in.

The Milestone Archives With DC and Ally

At SXSW, Snap launched a full AR experience created in partnership with DC Comics, Warner Media, and Ally. No, it’s nothing to do with “The Batman” – it’s “The Milestone Archives.”

The experience features lenses, mini-games, and other interactions based around the DC characters Static, Hardware, and the duo Icon and Rocket. If you’re a DC fan, you may have noticed a trend – all of these characters are ethnic minorities or have ethnic minority backgrounds.

The experience was launched to promote The Milestone Initiative Talent Development Program. This is a training and mentorship program launched by DC and Ally to give opportunities to comic creators from diverse backgrounds.

Snap, Ally, DC Comics - Milestone Archives

“We’ve always believed in the importance of sharing underrepresented stories, so we’re thrilled for new creative voices to join us in our mission,” said producer and Milestone partner Reggie Hudlin. “Mentorship has always been a critical aspect of our comic book world!”

While most of the speakers and mentors in the event are from DC, the ten-week program is hosted in partnership with Ally. If you thought Ally was a financial institution – you’re right. So what are they doing helping with a comic program? Not all of the sessions are about art and storytelling. Participants also learn about navigating the numbers of the comics business.

“Ally is focused on improving financial literacy, economic mobility, and access to opportunities and products that help all communities gain financial stability and independence,” said Ally Chief Marketing and PR Officer, Andrea Brimmer. “‘[This program] allows us to build upon our efforts for lasting social impact that directly reaches Black and Hispanic communities.”

Snap’s First Oscars Spot Celebrating CODA

That’s not the only way that Snap has been working on representation recently. If you watched the Oscars, you may have caught the spot promoting their lenses that teach fingerspelling. You might have even recognized the lenses as being those created with SignAll and the “Deafengers,” an internal employee group at Snap.

Snap's Oscars spotAccording to a release shared with ARPost, the company was inspired to make the piece by CODA’s nomination for Best Picture. While press focused on CODA’s Oscar win being the first by a streaming service, the film was also the first to win the award with a predominantly deaf cast.

Cirque du Soleil as Only Verizon 5G Can Offer

Further, DC wasn’t the only big-name pop-culture partnership Snap played with recently. The camera company also partnered with Cirque du Soleil and Verizon to create an AR offering inspired by Cirque’s “O” performance that even features an original score.

The experience draws on motion capture from real Cirque performers, but you might not have ever seen motion capture like this. In order to capture all of the intricate movements of the performers in their routine, performers even wore gloves that tracked their finger movements.

O by Cirque du Soleil Lens Snap

The only downside to the experience is that it isn’t viewable by all Snapchatters. This is one of those next-generation experiences that requires 5G. As a result, it’s only available to Verizon 5G customers on compatible devices.

“The Cirque du Soleil – ‘O’ Lens showcases a trifecta of innovation leveraging Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, Snap’s AR technology and the artistry of ‘O,’ ” Verizon Director of Consumer Content Partnerships, Kris Soumas, said in a release shared with ARPost. “Consumers desire unique experiences like the ‘O’ Lens and Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband is built to provide these.”

O by Cirque du Soleil Lens Snap Verizon

While network providers are racing to 5G, Verizon is doing more than most to embrace the potential that 5G brings to XR experiences. For example, Verizon is currently the soul option for US consumers looking to use the Nreal AR glasses that launched late last year.

While it’s kind of a bummer that non-Verizon smart device owners can’t get their hands on this experience (yet), this kind of limited rollout is an important part of developing with new technologies. The partnership creates an atmosphere where Verizon can draw in customers and test networks while Snap can access advanced networks on advanced devices.

The NextMind Acquisition

If that wasn’t enough, Snap is also exploring other next-gen technologies. The company recently announced the acquisition of NextMind, a French neurotech company.

NextMind has already developed “non-invasive brain computer interface technology” which is quickly becoming a grail quest in XR. Many were first exposed to the idea when experimental electromyography input was teased as a future feature of future Meta devices during Connect 2021.

The release said that the NextMind team, among other members of Snap Lab, would “explore possibilities for the future of Snap Camera, including Spectacles,” but otherwise played their cards close to the vest.

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If you’re nervous about controlling technology with your nervous system, you aren’t alone. The release included some comforting sentiments like “This technology does nor ‘read’ thoughts or send any signals toward the brain.”

XR Developments For Years to Come

It can be hard not to chuckle when someone from Snap talks about “the camera company.” The team stays humble but in a few short days the company rolled out experiences with some of the biggest entertainment names in the country and showcased developing technologies that most of us don’t even have in our hands – and may not for years. There’s never a dull moment.

Jon Jaehnig
the authorJon Jaehnig
Jon Jaehnig is a freelance journalist with special interest in emerging technologies. Jon has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you have a story suggestion for Jon, you may contact him here.