Facebook and French eyewear giant EssilorLuxottica are collaborating on the development of smart glasses, and plan to launch their first product, Ray-Ban branded smart glasses, in 2021, the companies announced Wednesday (Sept. 16).
“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,” Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook Reality Labs, said in a prepared statement. “With Essilor Luxottica we have an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the first truly fashionable smart glasses.”
Rocco Basilico, chief wearables officer at EssilorLuxottica, added, “We are especially proud of our collaboration with Facebook, which projects an iconic brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future. Combining a brand that is loved and worn by millions of consumers around the globe with technology that has brought the world closer together, 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.”
Beyond saying their first smart glasses product will be Ray-Ban branded, the companies revealed very little about the new product, saying, “Product name, specs, software capabilities, pricing, and other details will be shared closer to launch in 2021.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the smart glasses collaboration during the annual Facebook Connect conference, held virtually from California.
Also during the conference, a Facebook executive gave limited details about an internal program called Facebook Aria that is exploring ways glasses could effectively integrate augmented reality. There was no indication the technology he discussed would factor in the glasses to be sold in 2021. Beginning this month, he said, some Facebook employees are wearing high-tech glasses that will gather information about “video, audio, eye-tracking and location data.”
Zuckerberg has publicly touted the potential for augmented reality for some time. Earlier this year, he predicted that 2020 will see a huge increase in the power of augmented reality systems.
A number of companies, including Amazon, have entered the wearables sector.