Business Insider

Snapchat hires top Hollywood special effects guru to work on 'augmented reality'

There's now speculation that Raffael Dickreuter is working on AR sunglasses

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 July, 2016, 9:08am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 July, 2016, 11:59am

Snapchat has hired a top visual effects specialist in Hollywood to work on "augmented reality." It could be related to the company's secret project to build sunglasses that superimpose computerised images on the real world.

Raffael Dickreuter joined the Venice-based company in June as a "Concept and Augmented Reality Designer". On LinkedIn, he describes himself as "virtual reality specialist, director and creator of VR content". 

Dickreuter did not respond to a request for comment for what he's working on specifically. Snapchat declined to comment.

His hire, though, fits into Snapchat's push into augmented reality. Snapchat has been working on secret AR sunglasses project for several years, and its CEO Evan Spiegel was photographed wearing an early prototype last fall. The app as most people know it now is also a "quiet introduction" into the world of augmented reality, thanks to the popularity of the Snapchat lenses.

Dickreuter's work could go towards designing scenes or concepts for the glasses, or he could start out work on imagining how 360-degree videos — like both Google and Facebook support already — would work inside Snapchat. Snapchat product designers have been seen using VR headsets like the Oculus in the company's LA offices, according to a source. The company has also brought on Oculus' user research lead, Gareth Griffiths, to head up Snapchat's User Research.

Dickreuter's hire is especially unusual given his extensive background in film. Dickreuter worked on special effects for films like "Iron Man", "The Martian", "Superman Returns", and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series. 

Outside of special effects though, Dickreuter's also worked on virtual reality projects or 360 degree videos. His role in things like the Jack Black Goosebump's 3D experience was to pre-visualize what the VR experience would look like. 

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