10 December 2019
Facebook's AR hardware efforts have been in motion for at least two years and now, it seems like the social networking giant is seeking help from the outside to turn them into an actual product. A new CNBC report claims that Facebook is working with Ray-Ban's parent company Luxottica on AR glasses. These glasses are said to be codenamed Orion internally and are being developed by Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington.
It is reported that Facebook wants to make Orion consumer-ready between 2023 and 2025. While these glasses would do things that one expects from AR glasses, they will also do tasks that will make them a smartphone alternative. These tasks will include the ability to make calls, a small display to show information, and even live streaming to friends and followers. The main issue related to the production is related to the size as Facebook wants it to be compact enough so that users can find it appealing to wear and use.
Another report from The Information mentions that Facebook and Ray-Ban are indeed collaborating but over another pair of glasses that are codenamed, Stella. These glasses are said to be similar to Snapchat Spectacles and are expected to become official in coming years but before Orion. Their functionality will be the same as Spectacles but since Ray-Ban is one of the partners, we can expect improvements at least on the design front.
Additionally, Facebook has a voice assistant under development that will allow users to interact with the glasses and AR experiences. It is also experimenting with a ring-like device codenamed Agios that will make use of motion sensor for acting upon user input.