The party is ON! Join us at TNW Conference 2021 in Amsterdam for face-to-face business!

Your sardonic source for consumer tech stories

This article was published on July 30, 2021

Facebook is making glasses with Ray-Ban — but don’t expect AR features

No integrated display

Facebook is making glasses with Ray-Ban — but don’t expect AR features
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Over the past few days, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have talked about building an all-encompassing virtual world,  a ‘Metaverse‘ if you will. The hypothetical universe will live across AR, VR, PC, consoles, phones, and more.

While we don’t know what kind of devices the company will release under the program, it told The Verge that it’s planning to launch a pair of smart glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban. However, there won’t be any integrated display, so don’t expect any AR shenanigans.

Facebook told the publication that these glasses would be a step in its overall AR work. The company’s VP of reality labs, Andrew Bosworth, gave a statement describing a vision of the smart glasses, but it doesn’t tell us much: 

We’re passionate about exploring devices that can give people better ways to connect with those closest to them. Wearables have the potential to do that. With EssilorLuxottica we have an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the first truly fashionable smart glasses

Last year, Facebook gave us a glimpse into its AR vision through prototype hardware called Project Aria. However, because of the lack of a display, the firm called it a “sensor platform,” instead of calling it a pair of AR glasses.

Project Aria hardware prototype
Facebook Project Aria hardware prototype

In contrast, the new Facebook and Ray-Ban glasses are unlikely to host too many sensors. My hunch is that they might have only as many functions as Snap Spectacles, which capture video and take images. These glasses could be the first step for Facebook to gauge how people react to smart glasses and their features, and tune their first AR glasses product accordingly. 

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

Also tagged with