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Facebook teaming up with Ray-Ban maker for first smart glasses in 2021

Facebook on Wednesday announced a partnership with Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban, to release its first pair of smart glasses in 2021. 

“After spending time with their team and visiting their factory, I knew that they were the right partner for us to help bring the best technology together with the best glasses,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a live stream from Facebook Connect, the company’s online event for its virtual and augmented reality products. 

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Facebook and Luxottica will make the glasses as part of a multiyear partnership. The pairing of the two companies was first reported by CNBC last year

“I can’t go into full product details yet, but they’re really the next step on the road to augmented reality glasses,” Zuckerberg said. “And they look pretty good too.”

Zuckerberg also announced that the company plans to release Project Aria, a research device that the company will use to learn as it develops its consumer smart glasses.

Project Aria glasses will be worn by Facebook employees and contractors around the company’s campus and in public starting in September, said Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Facebook’s head of hardware. The glasses do not have augmented reality features and they are not for sale, Bosworth said. The devices will capture video, audio, eye-tracking and location data that Facebook can use to aid its development of augmented reality smart glasses. 

“It’s a research device that will help us understand how to build the software and hardware necessary for real, working AR glasses,” Bosworth said. 

Employees who wear the Project Aria glasses will undergo training on when and where they can wear the research devices, Bosworth said. Sensitive places like restrooms will be off limits, he said. Before the data collected can be used for research, it will be scrubbed of sensitive identifiable details such as people’s faces or vehicle license plates, Bosworth said. Additionally, these workers will have clothes that make them easily identifiable as Facebook employees, he said. 

Salvador Rodriguez, CNBC

Salvador Rodriguez is a CNBC technology reporter covering Facebook and social media.

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