An inside look at Facebook Reality Labs AR smart glasses division
Since acquiring Oculus Rift back in 2014, Facebook has worked hard to secure its place as a market-leading force in the extended reality marketplace – and Project Aria is the company’s latest strategy to ensure that position.
So far, the company has succeeded in dominating the virtual reality space with its flagship Oculus Quest 2 standalone headset, and an augmented reality marketplace that’s been forecasted to grow from USD 10.7 billion in 2019 to USD 72.7 billion by 2024, looks like its next target.
But what exactly is Project Aria, and how will it help Facebook continue to lead the charge in 2021 and beyond?
Let’s that a look below to find out.
Project Aria is a new research team at Facebook Reality Labs dedicated to helping the company build its first generation of wearable augmented reality devices.
This project’s ultimate goal is to create a pair of glasses that add what Facebook calls “a 3D layer of useful, contextually relevant and meaningful information on top of the physical world to help users perform everyday tasks better.”
Starting in September 2020, Project Aria aims to create the next generation of social communication tools that will deliver all the benefits of a standard smartphone while removing the inconveniences of having to look down or use our hands.
During Facebook’s recent earnings call for the period ending December 31, Mark Zuckerberg explained how he believes extended reality technologies will play a huge part in Facebook’s future vision.
“Augmented reality glasses are going to be a key part of this vision too. We’re still working on some foundational technology to underpin these, and the ultimate product is still some years away. But this year, we are excited to deliver a first glimpse of what it will be, when we launched our first pair of smart glasses from Ray-Ban, in partnership with Luxottica,” Zuckerberg adds.
While the idea of AR smart glasses is far from new, the technology has come a long way since the spectacular failure of Google Glass back in 2014.
Now that wearables like smartwatches have found their place in the mass-market following the first Apple Watch release in 2015, the idea of smart glasses doesn’t seem so far-fetched as it once did.
At last, the world seems ready to embrace smart glasses at scale, and the suspense generated by hints and lingering promises from companies like Facebook and Apple is fuelling that desire more and more each day.
Perhaps that’s why Grand View Research recently predicted the global smart glass market size, valued at USD 3.71 billion in 2018, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.2% every year for the next four years.
For more information on Project Aria’s progress and a first-hand look at Facebook’s upcoming release of their smart glasses project with Ray-Ban later on this year, be sure to keep both eyes on XR Today in 2021.