Facebook to produce Ray-Ban smart glasses in 2021

Social media giant teams up with luxury eyewear firm EssilorLuxottica to build wearable devices

Facebook's first pair of the Ray-Ban branded smart glasses will be released in the market next year. Courtesy Facebook
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Facebook has joined forces with Franco-Italian eyewear company EssilorLuxottica, best known for its Ray-Ban brand, to manufacture smart glasses.

The first pair of Ray-Ban branded smart glasses will be released in the market next year, the social media giant said.

“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 EssilorLuxottica was founded in October 2018 through the merger of Italy's Luxottics and French brand Essilor.

Facebook has been talking about AR glasses for years and industry analysts consider this partnership a concrete step in that direction. 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 is a research device … it’s not a prototype, and it’s not for sale. To start, it will be worn by a group of Facebook employees and contractors – about 100 participants in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle – as they go about their day,” said Nathan White, privacy policy manager at Facebook Reality Labs.

Facebook has not disclosed the new product’s name, specs, software capabilities, pricing and other details. Courtesy Facebook

The device will use sensors to capture video and audio from the wearer’s point of view, as well as their eye movement and location data.