The tech giant Facebook is collaborating with the Franco Italian based luxury sunglass company Essilor-Luxottica to manufacture smart-glasses by the next year. Essilor-Luxottica is the company that manufactures the world famous Ray-Ban sunglasses. The first batch of the smart glass would be available in the market by the middle of the next year, Facebook announced.
“After spending time with their team and visiting their factory, I knew that they were the right partners for us to help bring the best technology together with the best glasses,” Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, said. “I can’t go into full product details yet, but they’re really the next step on the road to augmented reality glasses and they look pretty good too,” he added.
The companies have not disclosed the new product’s name, specs, software capabilities, pricing or other details. Further details will be shared closer to the launch date, they said.
The partnership will combine Facebook apps, Luxottica’s brands and Essilor’s lens technology.
“We are especially proud of our collaboration with Facebook, which projects an iconic brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future,” said Rocco Basilico, chief wearables officer at Luxottica.
“Combining a brand that is loved and worn by millions of consumers with technology that has brought the world closer, we can reset expectations around wearables … we are paving the way for a new generation of products destined to change the way we look at the world,” said Mr Basilico. Paris-based Essilor-Luxottica was founded in October 2018 through the merger of Italy’s Luxottics and French brand Essilor.
Facebook has been indicating about a smart glass for the past couple of years and this venture is considered to be their first and greatest step towards achieving it. However, the first model of smart glasses are not expected to offer full AR capabilities, such as projecting holograms in front of users.
On Wednesday, Facebook unveiled Project Aria – a research initiative that will help it to build the first generation of wearable AR devices. The company has built a research device that will be worn like a pair of glasses and will help the company to understand how to build the software and hardware necessary for AR glasses.
This device uses an array of sensors that can capture images, video and audio from the wearer’s view or audible point. The eye movement, location and several data manipulation can be done with Facebook Ray-Ban smart glasses, as per speculations.