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Ray-Ban slips on Facebook vision

smart-glasses-facebook-ray-ban-stories-thefutureparty
Ray-Ban Stories // Illustration by Kate Walker

Ray-Ban slips on Facebook vision

 

The Future. Facebook and Ray-Ban have partnered on a pair of smart glasses called Ray-Ban Stories, which are already available for purchase. This initial pair is focusing on the basics — capturing photos and video hands-free — while maintaining the style that Ray-Ban is known for. The simplicity may be what inspires mainstream use… while setting the stage for greater AR-lens adoption when the time is right.

Four eyes
Thanks to Ray-Ban, Facebook is putting Facebook on your… face.

  • The new Ray-Ban Stories have two front-facing cameras so wearers can take photos or videos hands-free.
  • The smart glasses respond to a physical button or to the voice command “Hey, Facebook” to take a photo or video.
  • The frames also have a touch screen to play, pause, or change volume when listening to music or podcasts through the speakers via bluetooth.
  • The glasses connect to an app called Facebook View, which allows users to edit a captured photo or video, and then upload it to an app
  • Facebook View is compatible with all apps, not just Facebook-owned ones.

The Ray-Ban Stories start at $299 and are available wherever Ray-Bans are sold, including LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut. Also, the glasses can be outfitted with prescription lenses.

Always watching
Unlike Snap’s Spectacles, the Ray-Ban Stories don’t have any AR capabilities. They look more like a normal pair of glasses with two small cameras embedded into the corners of the frame. That’s intentional — the sleek design should help ensure mainstream adoption.

That’s not to say that AR isn’t on Facebook’s mind… the social network has an ongoing deal with EssilorLuxottica (Ray-Ban’s parent company). So, Stories is just Phase 1. Facebook’s VP of augmented and virtual reality, Andrew Bosworth, points out that these initial glasses “lay the groundwork in the minds of consumers for the many, many, future products that we have to come in this space.”

Facebook has an AR pair already in development under the codename “Orion,” which is sure to put Snap and Google (which recently bought AR glasses startup North) on high alert.