Facebook has announced a partnership with Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica to co-produce smart glasses in 2021. EssilorLuxottica will design the frames of its first consumer smart glasses. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced it at the all-virtual Facebook Connect conference.
"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," Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's vice president of the Reality Labs division, said in a statement.
The experimental research prototype is called Project Aria. Project Aria is a research device that is worn like regular glasses and will help to build the software, including a live map of 3D spaces, and hardware necessary for future AR devices.
The company will release Project Aria test glasses, which it will distribute to its employees. Smart glasses will be used to collect various data, including audio, video, location, and eye-tracking, to explore different possibilities in smart glasses development. At the same time, when recording a video, all confidential information, for example, people's faces and license plates, will be blurred.
Starting in September, Facebook employees and contractors will be able to wear Project Aria both in the company's office and in public. They will undergo special training in which they will be told when and where to wear the research device. For example, the company notes that the use of Project Aria in toilets is prohibited.
Employees participating in the glasses test will wear clothing that makes them easily identifiable as Facebook employees. Project Aria does not have AR features and is not available for sale.