Facebook Teams Up With Ray-Ban to Launch Smart Glasses in 2021

Yolanda Curtis
September 18, 2020

Faceboook unveiled Project Aria, a new research project that will help it build the first generation of wearable augmented reality devices. Along with Ray-Ban, Luxottica owns brands such as Oakley and Persol, and makes eyewear for brands ranging from Versace to Brooks Brothers.

Since it is a prototype, Facebook will not commercially launch its Project Aria glasses anytime soon.

The research device's existing sensor configuration is not set in stone. The research device won't display information on the lens, but it'll record audio, video, location, and eye movement.

As Facebook notes, these glasses are actually more capable than what you'd find in your standard VR headset as they posses the same head and eye tracking capabilities but also marry in smartphone functions like a forward facing camera, multichannel audio inputs, and Global Positioning System tracking.

The company said the project was about "figuring out the right privacy and safety and policy model, long before we bring AR glasses to the world".

The ultimate goal of AR glasses is to present a heads-up-display on your spectacles, and project Aria is a step in that direction.

Facebook said it will not release the Aria device to the general public and it won't be available for sale. The cautionary tale is Google Glass, which arrived in 2013 to much hype only to disappoint with its obscenely high price, short battery life, and minimal use cases.

Many in the industry believe the glasses will eventually replace the functionality of mobile phones altogether, making their development a hotly contested race among tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Alphabet's Google.

The new Oculus Quest 2 and the end of the Oculus Rift line weren't the only major announcement Facebook had in store at its Facebook Connect event. AR glasses will download the most recent data from the 3D map, and then only have to detect changes - like new street names or the appearance of a new parking garage, and update the 3D map with those changes.

Project Aria research participants will record in Facebook offices, wearers' private homes, and public spaces. The social media company also suggested that users will be able to see AR-generated holograms of people they're talking with, sitting in the same room as if everyone was in one physical space.

"Such a device could help us perform everyday tasks better - like finding your keys, navigating a new city, or capturing a moment; but it could also open up an entirely new way of moving through the world".

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