Ray-Ban posted a promotional page with a silhouette of a pair of glasses and the date “09.09 2021”. Pictures: Greg Maxwell
Ray-Ban posted a promotional page with a silhouette of a pair of glasses and the date “09.09 2021”. Pictures: Greg Maxwell

Ray-Ban and Facebook may launch Metaverse sunglasses

By Wesley Diphoko Time of article published Sep 8, 2021

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Metaverse plans may be realised sooner as two global giants, Ray-Ban and Facebook, have teased that they may announce smart glasses on September 9.

Ray-Ban posted a promotional page with a silhouette of a pair of glasses, the date “09.09 2021” and the text “sign up now to get your release notification” — although it doesn’t specify whether that’s news about the release or the release itself.

Ray-Ban’s home page also promises that “this is one story you’re going to want to follow”, possibly a reference to Facebook Stories.

The posts show point-of-view video clips from Bosworth (Facebook head of VR) and Zuckerberg, including Bosworth playing golf and Zuckerberg paddling a boat, all of it seemingly designed to highlight physically active and all-weather scenarios.

The announcement coincides with news that Facebook is working on Metaverse that will merge physical life and online (virtual) life. In July Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees about an ambitious new initiative.

He said the future of the company would go far beyond its current project of building a set of connected social apps and hardware to support them. Instead, he said, Facebook would strive to build a maximalist, interconnected set of experiences straight out of sci-fi — a world known as the metaverse.

The company’s divisions focused on products for communities, creators, commerce, and virtual reality would increasingly work to realise this vision, he said in a remote address to employees.

“What I think is most interesting is how these themes will come together into a bigger idea,” Zuckerberg said. “Our overarching goal across all of these initiatives is to help bring the metaverse to life.”

The recent teaser seems to suggest that the eyewear may be one of the devices used for the metaverse. Facebook also owns Oculus which is another wearable device that may be used for the metaverse.

Facebook is known to have developed eyewear in partnership with Ray-Ban parent company EssilorLuxottica, a stepping stone toward “full augmented reality glasses”.

Zuckerberg confirmed in July that the glasses would be Facebook’s next hardware launch, although he didn’t announce a date at that time. He specified that the glasses would “have (Ray-Ban’s) iconic form factor, and they let you do some pretty neat things.”

The glasses seem to be part of a larger Facebook initiative to build glasses that augment the world visually and aurally. But they won’t have features that are commonly associated with AR glasses like the ability to project images into the environment. Facebook is probably also saving its neural wristband technology — which it sees as the future of AR interaction — for a later release.

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