Facebook working with Ray-Ban on AR glasses
Augmented reality (AR) glasses seemed like a great idea on paper several years ago, but not even Google or Microsoft could make a successful implementation for the time being. Facebook, too, tried its hand at a similar product, which has been in development for a couple for years now, and, according to a recent report from CNBC, the company is ready to partner up with Ray-Ban parent company Luxotica to release a commercial product in 4 to 6 years.
Hundreds of employees at the Facebook Reality Labs from Redmond have been hard at work on the AR project that is internally codenamed Orion. A former developer told CNBC that Facebook has been struggling for some time to integrate the AR tech into a wearable form-factor and it looks like Ray-Ban will lend its expertise to ensure a proper implementation. Luxotica also helped design the first version of Google’s Glass.
The extended development time is explained by Facebook’s grand vision of replacing smartphones with its AR glasses. In this respect, the smartglasses will enable users to take calls, display information on a small transparent display and live-stream their whereabouts on social media platforms through integrated cameras. Facebook is also working to add an AI voice assistant to help with verbalized commands and data input, plus there should also be a ring-like device to enable motion sensor data input.
4 to 6 years of waiting might seem like a long time, but there are other companies that plan to release AR glasses much sooner. Microsoft is constantly improving its HoloLens device, yet the prices are still too high, while Samsung recently added a new AR glasses patent to its portfolio. Still, none of these products are looking to replace smartphones, so it remains to be seen exactly how Facebook will deliver on those claims.