Beyond thrilled to finally share a sneak peek of our Facebook partnership with Ray-Ban! Our first smart glasses will launch next year, and that’s just the beginning… The future will be a classic and it’s coming in 2021 😎 pic.twitter.com/l9992ZQGoy
— Hugo Barra (@hbarra) September 16, 2020
“We’re envisioning a time when we have all the benefits of connectivity (and more), without the need to keep our heads and our eyes down, looking at a device,” the company explained in a Wednesday press release. “Imagine calling a friend and chatting with their lifelike avatar across the table. Imagine a digital assistant smart enough to detect road hazards, offer up stats during a business meeting, or even help you hear better in a noisy environment.”
As a research platform, Aria will act as a testbed enabling Facebook engineers to further develop the AR ecosystem by capturing both POV photos and video as well as tracking the wearer’s head and eye movements as well as location data. if that sounds like a hornets nest of privacy and surveillance issues, you’re not alone.
As Facebook points out, “Project Aria was designed as a way to help us innovate safely and responsibly. To help us develop the safeguards, policies, and even social norms necessary to govern the use of AR glasses and future wearable devices, we’re gathering feedback both from people wearing the device and from people who encounter other people wearing the device in public.” Essentially, the company wants to see if people wearing Aria get punched in the face as often as folks who wore Google Glass. As such, Facebook has created a privacy FAQ regarding the project explaining what data it collects and how it is collected.
Facebook is also partnering with Carnegie Melon University to explore how these glasses might be used to map and record the interiors of museums and airports, then display that information to people with visual impairments. The first batch of Aria glasses will be released to select FB employees and contractors later this month.