During a virtual Facebook Connect conference, chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg announced that the tech company signed a multiyear partnership with Ray-Ban’s parent company, Luxottica. Facebook will also be working with Ray-Ban to produce its first smart glasses in 2021.
While he didn’t reveal any specifics, it could be something akin to Snapchat’s Spectacles, which can capture images and video, and read messages and emails. Zuckerberg also noted that Facebook’s ultimate objective is to eventually produce augmented reality (AR) glasses, dubbed Project Aria.
“The goal here is to develop some normal size, nice-looking glasses that you can wear all day and interact with holograms, digital objects, and information while still being present with the people in the world around you,” he said. “Maybe you want to just sit on your couch and have a friend teleport and have their holograms sit right next to you to play games or just talk or hang out. Maybe you’re walking somewhere and you want directions or you see something awesome and you want to share it without having to take out your phone.”
Rocco Basilico, chief wearables office at Luxottica, said in a statement: “We are especially proud of our collaboration with Facebook, which projects an iconic brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future. We are paving the way for a new generation of products destined to change the way we look at the world.”
Facebook is not alone in believing that smart glasses that superimpose computer-generated images over the real world will be the next big thing in computing. Already, Microsoft makes the HoloLens 2 headset, Snapchat parent company Snap sells its Spectacles glasses and Florida startup Magic Leap sells its Magic Leap One AR glasses, although none of these devices has become a hit. Apple is also reportedly working on a similar product that could hit the market as early as next year.
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