Facebook is Building AR Smart Glasses with Ray-Ban – CNBC
Facebook is developing smart glasses in collaboration with Ray-Ban, according to a report by CNBC. Facebook and Ray-Ban parent company Luxottica plan to bring the smart glasses, code-named Orion, to market by 2025.
According to the report, the Orion smart glasses will use augmented reality to replace smartphones. The glasses are supposed to be able to take phone calls, live-stream video, and display information on the lenses. Presumably, the frames will imitate Ray-Ban sunglasses. CNBC says there will also be a motion sensor ring called Agios to control the glasses.
To support all of these functions, Facebook is developing a voice assistant. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously hinted that he wants to make a Facebook voice assistant beyond what is available today in Portal smart displays. Zuckerberg’s remarks built on earlier comments by director of AR/VR, Ira Snyder, and chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, who have both previously discussed Facebook’s plans for a voice assistant.
Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington are developing the glasses, with hundreds of employees working on them. Though there have been rumors about the company building smart glasses for a while, the partnership with Luxottica suggests the process is well underway.
Right now, it’s so early in the process that it’s impossible to guess what the final form of the glasses may be, although Zuckerberg reportedly told his team to prioritize their development. Additionally, If the names are accurate, it’s not immediately obvious how they were chosen. Orion is the great hunter and a constellation with a famous belt, while Agios is Greek for saint or sacred.
Smart Glasses Future
The smart glasses described in the report share a great deal in common with the North Focals smart glasses we reviewed earlier this year. The AR lens, built-in voice assistant, and most notably the ring control are all very much central to how the Focals operate. They are also built to imitate traditional glasses and not be obviously smart glasses.
Facebook’s smart glasses ideas sound like they fit well with the company’s current strategy of trying to bypass the platforms it usually relies on. Smartglasses independent of smartphones would be like Facebook’s new Portal TV and Portal devices function without requiring Apple, Google, or Amazon’s operating systems and voice assistants, although they do get a little help from Alexa.