They're still trying to make "smart" glasses a thing, and this time they've got the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses on the project.
EssilorLuxottica, the French company that makes the classic acrylic and polycarbonate glasses, and Facebook (of course Facebook would be involved in this) announced Sept. 16 that they were partners in "Project Aria," which aims to bring smart glasses to the market branded as Ray-Bans.
"By wearing these devices as they go about their day, at home, on Facebook campuses (once they reopen) and in public," Facebook said in its announcement, "the data they gather will support the development of head-tracking, eye-tracking, and audio algorithms that will one day make the dream of AR glasses real."
As our sister paper Advertising Age writes: "The tech community has been trying to crack the glasses form-factor for years. Google was a pioneer with Google Glass in 2013. Google Glass were internet-connected specs that could record videos and photos and run apps like maps to give directions. The world was not ready for them though, and there were serious privacy concerns raised by the prospect of people walking around with surreptitious recording devices."
For its part, Luxottica sees the collaboration as a way that an "iconic brand like Ray-Ban" can find its space in a digital future.
Let's face it: Ray-Ban glasses, especially as seen in movies like Risky Business or The Blues Brothers, truly are some of the most iconic "wearables" ever, and one of the coolest pieces of plastic on the planet. But for me, as much as I like Ray-Ban, it's not a question of style. It's still about privacy.