Facebook announced on Wednesday a partnership with Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban, to release its first pair of smart glasses in 2021.
“After spending time with their team and visiting their factory, I knew they were the right partner for us to help bring the best technology along with the best glasses,” Facebook director Mark Zuckerberg said in a live stream from Facebook Connect, the company’s online event for its virtual and augmented reality products.
Facebook and Luxottica will manufacture the glasses as part of a multi-year partnership. The pairing of the two companies was first reported by CNBC last year.
“I can not go into detail with all the product information yet, but they are really the next step on the road to augmented reality glasses,”
Zuckerberg also announced that the company plans to release Project Aria, a research unit that the company will use to learn when developing its smart consumer glasses.
Project Aria glasses are worn by Facebook employees and contractors around the company’s campus and publicly from September, said Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Facebook’s head of hardware. The glasses do not have augmented reality features and they are not for sale, Bosworth said. The devices capture video, audio, eye tracking and location data that Facebook can use to help develop smart augmented reality glasses.
“It’s a research unit that helps us understand how to build the software and hardware needed for genuine, working AR glasses,” Bosworth said.
Employees wearing the Project Aria glasses undergo training in when and where they can wear the research equipment, Bosworth said. Sensitive places like restrooms will be without boundaries, he said. Before the collected data can be used for research, they are scrubbed by sensitive identifiable details such as people’s faces or vehicle signs, Bosworth said. In addition, these workers will have clothes that make them easily identifiable as Facebook employees, he said.