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Facebook Partners With Ray-Ban for First ‘Smart Glasses’ in 2021

Ray-Ban Storefront in London
A Ray-Ban storefront in in London, UK. Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images

Ray-Ban, an eyewear brand that’s steeped in heritage thanks to its iconic wayfarers and aviators, is now looking into the future.

During a virtual Facebook Connect conference, chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg announced that the tech company signed a multiyear partnership with Ray-Ban’s parent company, Luxottica. Facebook will also be working with Ray-Ban to produce its first smart glasses in 2021.

“[Luxottica is] the best in the world at making glasses,” said Zuckerberg, whose remarks were first reported by WWD. “They make RayBan and Oakley, and they design and build frames for everyone from Armani to Versace.”

While he didn’t reveal any specifics, it could be something akin to Snapchat’s Spectacles, which can capture images and video, and read messages and emails. Zuckerberg also noted that Facebook’s ultimate objective is to eventually produce augmented reality (AR) glasses, dubbed Project Aria.

“The goal here is to develop some normal size, nice-looking glasses that you can wear all day and interact with holograms, digital objects, and information while still being present with the people in the world around you,” he said. “Maybe you want to just sit on your couch and have a friend teleport and have their holograms sit right next to you to play games or just talk or hang out. Maybe you’re walking somewhere and you want directions or you see something awesome and you want to share it without having to take out your phone.”

Of course, Facebook’s new venture brings up some privacy concerns, which the company said it would work on in the next few months. Other tech giants including Intel, Amazon, Apple, and Google have also announced their plans to enter the smart glasses or AR space, reports The Verge. For now, Facebook’s dreams of creating fully functional AR glasses face a long road ahead, but we can expect to learn more details about its high tech Ray-Bans later this year.

Rocco Basilico, chief wearables office at Luxottica, said in a statement: “We are especially proud of our collaboration with Facebook, which projects an iconic brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future. We are paving the way for a new generation of products destined to change the way we look at the world.”

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