Facebook has joined forces with Franco-Italian eyewear company EssilorLuxottica, best known for its Ray-Ban brand, to launch its first smart glasses in the market.
Called Ray-Ban Stories, the new smart glasses let users capture photos, record videos, listen to music, podcasts and take phone calls without taking out their smartphone.
“Ray-Ban Stories are an important step towards a future when phones are no longer a central part of our lives and you won’t have to choose between interacting with a device or interacting with the world around you,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.
Starting at $299, Ray-Ban Stories are available in 20 style combinations online and in select retail stores in the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the UK.
Users can control the smart glasses through physical buttons such as on-off switch and “capture” knob to take photos and record videos. There is a tiny touch pad to adjust the volume or answer a phone call.
They come with twin 5-megapixel cameras and three-microphone audio set-up for voice and sound transmission for calls and videos.
“Users can record up to 30-second videos using the capture button or hands-free with Facebook Assistant voice commands … background noise suppression algorithm provides an enhanced calling experience like [users] expect from dedicated headphones,” the company said.
Weighing less than 50-grams, the glasses will come with a leather hard-shell charging case.
Users can store hundreds of photos and videos on Ray-Ban Stories and transfer them to phones through the Facebook View app. The app on iOS and Android devices makes it easy to import, edit and share content captured on the smart glasses to other apps on the phone such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat.
Users can also save content to their phone’s camera roll and edit and share from there.
Facebook said the smart glasses come with in-built security features to safeguard the privacy of wearers and the people around them. A white LED lights will glow to let people nearby know when the user is recording.
“In addition to encrypting your photos and videos, we have expert teams dedicated to preventing hackers from accessing your Facebook account,” the social media company said.
“We won't access your media without your consent, and we do not use the content of photos and videos captured with Ray-Ban Stories and stored in Facebook View for personalised ads,” it added.