Facebook says its first pair of consumer “smart glasses” are going to be releasing next year as a branded Ray-Ban product, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during the opening keynote of its all-virtual Facebook Connect conference. It’s not clear what features the device will have, but Facebook has confirmed to The Verge that the device won’t be classified as an AR device, and it’ll not have an integrated display of any kind. that means they’ll be closer to something like Snap Spectacles or perhaps Amazon’s Echo Frames.
Facebook says consumer smart glasses are going to be one step in its overall work on AR, which now includes experimental research prototype it’s calling Project Aria, which is more sort of a full-fledged pair of AR glasses it seems like . Starting this month, Facebook says the corporate will start testing Aria in real world with Facebook employees and contractors to thrash out tough issues around areas like privacy, video record, and design.
The company has talked for years about its plans to create AR devices that resemble a typical pair of glasses, and therefore the company is now working with Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica to style(design) the frames of its first consumer smart glasses, confirming rumors last fall that the corporate had partnered with the Italian eyewear brand.
“We’re hooked in to exploring devices which will give people better ways to attach with those closest to them. Wearables have the potential to do that. With EssilorLuxottica we’ve an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the 1st truly fashionable smart glasses,” Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice chairman of the Reality Labs division, said in statement.
We don’t have any details on what Facebook’s eventual AR glasses are going to be called, what they appear like beyond the Aria prototype, or what proportion they could cost .
But AR and smart glasses designed to seem like standard pieces of eyewear became more common in recent years, with companies like North (now owned by Google) and Nreal developing pretty impressive devices. Meanwhile, all the main tech giants — including Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel, & many other. — have either already released a tool in smart glasses or AR category, or are said to be actively performing on something.
Facebook in recent months has been more transparent about the work beginning of Reality Labs, a team formed in 2018 to work on experimental projects like Facebook’s brain-interface project, futuristic AR glasses design, and other work which will influence development at Oculus, the Portal video-conferencing team, and other groups.
The company earlier this year released white papers and prototype design images of what a hybrid AR-VR devices might appear as if in future (potentially a version of Project Aria), and last year the Reality Labs division acquired neural interface startup CTRL-Labs.
Facebook also detailed a project eventually year’s Oculus Connect conference it calls Live Maps, which the corporate says are going to be integral to assist people use AR glasses in real world by helping blend the virtual and real. That way, AR glasses can “download the foremost recent data from the 3D map, then only need to detect changes — like new street names or the looks of a new parking garage, and update the 3D map with those changes.”