The first pair of consumer ‘smart glasses’ from Facebook are set to release next year thanks to Ray-Ban. Marck Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, announced the glasses during the opening keynote of the completely virtual Facebook Connect conference.
We are still not sure what features the glasses will boast, though Facebook did note that these glasses will not be a certified AR device. Don’t expect to see an integrated display of any kind with these glasses. Instead, expect to see something a bit close to Echo Frames from Amazon or Snap Spectacles.
These consumer smart glasses, according to Facebook, as one step closer to the company’s goals for AR. The AR plan for Facebook currently includes Project Aria, which is an experimental research prototype.
Beginning this month, Facebook will begin testing Project Aria out in the public with contractors and Facebook employees. This will help them to figure out any issues surrounding video recording, privacy, and design.
For many years, Facebook has discussed plans to build an AR device in resemblance to your everyday, consumer-style glasses. Facebook is now working hand in hand with EssilorLuxottica, a Ray-Ban make, to finish off the design for their consumer smart glasses.
This partnership confirms last year’s rumor that they would begin working with an Italian sunglasses brand.
As of right now, there are not any details on the eventual name of Facebook’s consumer smart glasses or what they will look like beyond the Project Aria prototype that we already have. We definitely don’t know how much they will cost either, though we can imagine they will cost a pretty penny if the cost of Ray-Bans is any indication.
Increased Popularity In Consumer Smart Glasses
Consumer AR smart glasses are not new by any means. Over the past few years, companies have designed standard eyewear with AR capabilities, such as North, a company currently under the ownership of Google, and Nreal.
All of the big players in tech, including Apple, Amazon, Intel, and Google, have already released, or are in the process of releasing, smart glasses that fall under the category of AR.
Compared to other companies, Facebook has been surprisingly transparent about their work on AR glasses. Reality Labs, an experimental group formed by Facebook back in 2018, was created to work on a number of influential products, including the brain-interface project.
Earlier this year, Facebook released prototype design images laying out what these AR or VR devices might look like whenin production. Reality Labs acquired CTRL-Labs this past year, which is a neural interface startup.
At last year’s Oculus conference, Facebook detailed its Live Maps project, which will be an ‘integral’ piece of the puzzle for consumers using AR glasses in the real world. AR glasses will be able to download recent 3D map data and detect any changes, including the appearance of new buildings, street name changes, and any other map updates.