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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Facebook will launch its first smart glasses with Ray-Ban: Here’s what we know

Facebook will launch its first pair of smartglasses from Ray-Ban in partnership with the Essilor Luxottica group. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed this news during the investor call.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 30, 2021 3:52:52 pm
Facebook, Facebook AR glasses, Facebook smart glasses, Facebook AR glasses Ray-Ban, Facebook Ray Ban glassesFacebook is planning smart glasses with Ray-Ban. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in this 2018 file photo. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Facebook will launch its first pair of smartglasses from Ray-Ban in partnership with the Essilor Luxottica group. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed this news during the investor call for the company’s quarterly results. Zuckerberg stressed that the glasses will have the ‘iconic form’ factor of Ray-Ban and will let users “do some pretty neat things,” though he didn’t elaborate on these ‘neat’ features.

“I’m excited to get these into people’s hands and to continue to make progress on the journey towards full augmented reality glasses in the future,” he said during the call.

Facebook has not clarified the timeline for when these smart glasses will be released. Zuckerberg also said that the Oculus Quest 2, which is the company’s VR gaming headset continues to do well and most of the popular apps on it are social. This he said, fits with the company’s “original thesis here that virtual reality will be a social platform.”

What is Project Aria from Facebook?

Facebook has in the past talked about its Project Aria, which was announced in September 2020. Aria is the company’s research project on wearable AR for the future, and the claim is that Facebook wants to build smart glasses which are “flexible enough to work for most face shapes and sizes,” with software that will support them.

Facebook also said that the technology will still need “several generations of breakthroughs, like systems to enhance audio and visual input, contextualized AI, and a lightweight frame to house it all.” It also admitted that this will require a “foundational shift in computing technology”,  to create this kind of AR-driven glasses. True AR glasses that can free the user of dependence on smartphones will require extra-ordinary computation power no doubt, which is easier said than done. And Facebook is not the only company trying to solve this problem.

In its description for Project Aria, Facebook has said that these smart glasses could add “a 3D layer of useful, contextually relevant and meaningful information on top of the physical world.” The device could help users navigate a city, take photos, even find their keys, or call a friend, a world where “the device itself disappears entirely into the ebb and flow of everyday life.”

Right now, we don’t know if the AR glasses with Ray-Ban will be so seamless as envisioned above, or whether they will be more basic smart glasses. It should also be noted that rival Snap, the parent company for Snapchat, is already testing its AR glasses, which can add AR elements to the real world and let users have some fun while wearing these. Snapchat’s AR glasses are currently only available for developers and not for sale for customers.

Smart glasses are not the only wearable that Facebook is trying to build. The Verge reported earlier this year, that the company has plans to launch smartwatches with detachable cameras soon.

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