I admit that I kind of love Snapchat. I use it mostly for cat pictures, as do most of my Snapchat (or Snapcat) connections, preferring to use Instagram for my more creative and memorable photography. I’m ridiculously picky about the photos I post on Instagram – only my most artistic and aesthetically pleasing shots tend to make the cut. That’s why I like Snapchat – I can use it for the quick, throwaway shots that are worth sharing but aren’t quite up to my usual, obsessive former photography student standards.
Snapchat is getting more creative, though – and I’m not talking about the ever-changing filters that I like to scroll through when I’m bored. Not long ago, Snapchat Spectacles appeared: special glasses that allow the wearer to take photographs with just a tap of the frames. The idea is that this kind of hands-free photography enables people to capture moments exactly as they see them, without a manual camera or phone getting in the way. Now Royal Caribbean has adapted Snapchat Spectacles to allow people to participate in that most elusive of art forms: underwater photography.
The SeaSeeker Mask is a diving mask that incorporates Snapchat Spectacles via a 3D printed plastic adapter that mounts the spectacles inside of the mask. The adapter, 3D printed from ABS, keeps the Spectacles aligned and positions the camera for a wide angle view of the underwater world. A magnetic button, mounted on the outside of the mask, enables video recording, and can also shoot in HD, record audio and sync via Bluetooth and WiFi.
The mask, which is currently in the prototype stage, was developed with the help of creative agency MullenLowe US.
“The immersive point of view provided by Snapchat Spectacles are a great match for what we’re trying to do: bring new perspectives to the ecology and culture of the Caribbean,” said Christian Madden, SVP, creative technologist, MullenLowe US. “The challenge was finding a way to introduce the Spectacles to a completely foreign environment; deep below the ocean’s surface. Our design and prototyping process focused on creating a 3D printed adapter that surrounds the Spectacles and mates them to a customized dive mask, creating a water-tight environment for the camera’s electronics. Being able to create rapid prototypes on the 3D printer enabled the team and Royal Caribbean to try a number of different approaches before finding the optimal solution. Working with our fabrication partner, we depth tested the product in a pressure chamber, along with practical test dives in swimming pools and in the ocean.”
Three professional divers are testing out the SeaSeeker mask: marine wildlife photographer and conservationist Roberto Ochoa; marine biologist and activist Gaby Nava; and competitive free diver Ashleigh Baird. You can see images and video from the three divers’ forays into the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s Instagram page; they were also showcased on the company’s Snapchat Channel in June. The mask has been pressure tested to a depth of 150 feet and can last for about half an hour underwater.
If you want one of these for yourself, you’re going to have to book a cruise: Royal Caribbean will be selling the SeaSeeker mask exclusively to its onboard guests – if and when the patent is approved. Otherwise, you can live vicariously through other people’s underwater experiences, like Baird’s, which you can see below:
Discuss in the SeaSeeker forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Forbes / Images: Royal Caribbean via Instagram and YouTube]
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