Facebook on Wednesday announced a partnership with Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban, to bring out its first smart glasses in 2021.
“After spending time with your team and visiting your factory, I knew they were the right partner for us to bring the best technology together with the best glasses,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, on a live stream from Facebook Connect, the company’s online event for its virtual and augmented reality products.
Facebook and Luxottica will manufacture the glasses as part of a multi-year partnership. The pairing of the two companies was first reported by CNBC last year.
Zuckerberg also announced that the company plans to release Project Aria, a research device the company will use to learn as it develops its consumer smart glasses.
Project Aria glasses will be worn by Facebook employees and contractors on company premises and in public from September, said Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, head of hardware at Facebook. The glasses don’t have augmented reality features and are not for sale, Bosworth said. The devices collect video, audio, eye tracking and location data that Facebook can use to support the development of augmented reality smart glasses.
“It’s a research device that helps us understand how to create the software and hardware required to make real, working AR glasses,” said Bosworth.
Employees wearing the Project Aria glasses will be trained on when and where to wear the research equipment, Bosworth said. Sensitive places like toilets are banned, he said. Before the data collected can be used for research purposes, it will be stripped of sensitive identifiable details like people’s faces or license plates, Bosworth said. In addition, these employees will have clothes that can be easily identified as Facebook employees, he said.