According to hardware chief Andrew Bosworth, Facebook Inc.'s planned smart glasses will arrive "sooner than later" in 2021, but will not feature the kind of digital overlay technology associated with augmented reality.
The glasses that are built in partnership with Ray-Ban and parent Luxottica Group SpA will be connected to a device, although users will not be able to overlay digital objects, a fundamental element of AR, into their real-world view.
"These are certainly connected glasses, they certainly provide a lot of features, [but] we're quite coy about which features we provide precisely," Bosworth said. We're excited, but we don't want to over-hype it, either. We don't even call it augmented reality, we just call it "intelligent glasses," he added.
Smart lenses are part of the company's long-term effort to capture the next major computing platform after the smartphone. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is a major proponent of both AR and VR, although this first iteration of glasses from Facebook will not offer the ultimate promise of augmented reality, which is the ability through a lens to blend the digital and physical worlds. Bosworth would not disclose the feature set for the upcoming glasses, but said they align with the broader AR philosophy of Facebook, which is to make technology peripheral to human interactions to improve "presence."
The latest technology company to attempt to create a pair of smart glasses is Facebook. Google Alphabet Inc. was early in the Google Glass category, which never caught on as a consumer device but found a home in warehouse and industrial settings as a worker support. Snap Inc. has also introduced several iterations of its smart glasses, called Spectacles, which allow individuals to record hands-free video and transfer it to their phone. Apple Inc. is building a pair of clever glasses as well.
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