O Facebook announced on Wednesday (16) a partnership with the manufacturer EssilorLuxottica to create augmented reality glasses of the brand Ray-Ban, and the device is already scheduled for 2021. The company also revealed the Project Aria, which will serve as a research tool to discover new uses of AR glasses.
For now, there are few details about the Ray-Ban smart glasses: “They will combine innovative technology with modern style and help people connect better with friends and family”, guarantees Facebook. Specifications, software features, pricing and other details will only be revealed in 2021.
Today, Facebook has given more prominence to the Project Aria. It is an augmented reality device that will be tested in public by about 100 employees, identified by clothing as participating in the research project. Perhaps that avoids the fiasco that was Google Glass, socially rejected and now restricted to business uses.
Initially, the goal is to understand the public’s reaction to glasses that have cameras and microphones. Project Aria displays a prominent white light that indicates when it is collecting data, and has a physical button that turns off that collection. It will be used in Facebook offices, at home and in public spaces. In the case of shops or restaurants, it will be necessary to obtain written authorization from the establishment.
How Facebook’s Project Aria works
Project Aria does not display any information inside the lens. The glasses have cameras and microphones to capture video and audio from the user’s point of view, in addition to tracking eye movement and collecting location data. They have the complete set of sensors used in virtual reality headsets, plus GPS and multichannel audio.
The idea is “to help our engineers and programmers discover how augmented reality can work in practice”, explains Facebook. The data will also serve to create LiveMaps, a 3D map of the world around you; and to train a personalized assistant who can “help people to feel and understand the world”.
Project Aria glasses are not described as a prototype, but they will not be released to the general public nor will they be on sale. The tests will be restricted to the cities of San Francisco and Seattle, in the USA, “to help us develop the safeguards, policies and even social norms necessary to control the use of AR glasses and future wearable devices”, says the social network.