What's hiding inside Snapchat Spectacles?

Snapchat's new smart sunglasses, Snapchat Spectacles, are the hottest gadget in town.

It's probably the first wearable designed specifically for the Snapchat generation.

They're also in incredibly short supply and only available through special robot vending machines.

Which is why we had to tear one down.

Snapchat Spectacles, which arrived on the social media landscape a little more than a week ago, let you Snap videos from your point of view.

They're essentially life-casters for the teen-set.

Unlike previous wearable glasses, Spectacles look, more or less, like hipster sunglasses.

Snapchat did all it could to hide the technology away.

The only indications that there's something else afoot here are the two yellow circles on either side of the sunglasses.

One houses the video camera and the other a circle of LEDs that make it clear to others when Spectacles are filming.

Inside, though, are tiny motherboards, chips, batteries, memory and wires. My job was to reveal it all to you.

With the exception of the screws in the hinges holding on the temple stems, there are no visible screws on Snapchat Spectacles.

They're so well crafted that it took me a while to find any seams in the plastic casing.

Eventually I found a pair of them, right where each side of the Spectacles was bulkiest: directly behind the camera and directly behind the LED lights.

What follows is my step-by-step deconstruction of Snapchat's first wearable technology.

Wherever possible, I've tried to identify the components.

Step 1: Remove the temple stems

 Taking off the stems was the easy part. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
Still look like spectacles! Photo: Mashable/ Lance Ulanoff

Step 2: Open it up

With the stem off, you get a better look at the charging contacts, which are backed by a pair of magnets that help hold the spectacles in place when charging in the case. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

 

There are no screws holding the Spectacles' body together. Instead, there's a lot of expertly-applied glue. I had to pry this apart. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 3: Inside the battery compartment

With a little work, I was able to get into the battery compartment without breaking any plastic. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
At first, it looks like there is nothing in here except this battery. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 4: Battery removal

The battery, its frame and the circuit-based power-management system come out as one piece. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
Underneath is is the circuit board for the front-facing circle of LED lights, as well as the wiring and mechanism for the Snap button. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
As you can see, it's a 3.8v rechargeable battery. Photo:Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 5: Under the Snap button

Once the battery was pulled, I went to work on the button. This is also where I encountered some of my first torx screws. Photo : Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
Two screws and the entire button system slipped right out. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 6: Opening up the camera

The screws are tiny. Photo:Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
Here's what the other side of the battery cover looked like. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 7: Finding the stacked components

Under the camera side is what could best be described as a circuit board sandwich. Photo:Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 8: Finding the wireless controller

One of the chips squeezed in there is this Nordic Semiconductor Bluetooth Low energy and WiFi 2.4 GHz combo chip. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 9: Removing the camera

Under the circuit-board sandwich is the camera. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
This wire snakes its way through the Snapchat Spectacles' frame to the other side. It delivers power and data between the components on each side. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 10: Finding the storage and image processors

The circuit board on the far right side of the sandwich housed two critical components. This Kingston chip appears to be storage. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

 

This is an Ambarella System on a Chip for HD video. It also handles audio compression. Photo:Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 11: Popping out the LED

The circle of LED lights looks a lot less interesting outside of the Spectacles. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
The circuitry for the LED lights. Photo:Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

Step 12: Pull the lens and expose the cable

Wire in the frames. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
One of the SnapChat Spectacles sunglass lenses. Photo: Mashable/Lance Ulanoff
The full teardown. Photo:Mashable/Lance Ulanoff


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