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Home >Technology >News >Facebook, Ray-Ban launch first smart glasses: How it works, price, features

Facebook Inc, in partnership with Ray-Ban, launched its first smart glasses named ‘Ray-Ban Stories’ on Thursday in a step toward its aim of offering true augmented-reality spectacles.

“Today, we’re excited to launch Ray-Ban Stories: smart glasses that give you a new way to capture photos and video, share your adventures and listen to music or take phone calls — so you can stay present with friends, family and the world around you," Facebook said in a blog post.

The glasses, which were created in partnership with Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica, allow wearers to listen to music, take calls or capture photos and short videos and share them across Facebook's services using a companion app. Facebook said the glasses line, called "Ray-Ban Stories," would start at $299.

It also will be available for purchase in 20 style combinations online and in select retail stores in the US, as well as Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the UK. 

Facebook smart glasses: How it works

Ray-Ban Stories comes with dual integrated 5MP cameras, which will help in taking photos and up to 30-second videos using the capture button or hands-free with Facebook Assistant voice commands. 

A hard-wired capture LED lights up to let people nearby know when you’re taking a photo or video. Streamlined, open-ear speakers are built in, and Ray-Ban Stories’ three-microphone audio array delivers richer voice and sound transmission for calls and videos. 

Beamforming technology and a background noise suppression algorithm provide for an enhanced calling experience like you’d expect from dedicated headphones.

What's more? Ray-Ban Stories pairs with the new Facebook View app as well. The Facebook View app on iOS and Android will help import, edit and share content captured on the smart glasses to apps on your phone: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat and more. Users can also save content to your phone’s camera roll and edit and share from there. 

The social media giant, which reported revenue of about $86 billion in 2020, makes most of its money from advertising but has invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality, developing hardware such as its Oculus VR headsets and working on wristband technologies to support augmented reality glasses.

Facebook's chief scientist said last year the company was five to 10 years away from being able to bring to market "true" AR glasses, which would superimpose virtual objects onto the wearer's view of the real world.

Major tech firms including Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google, Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Snap Inc have raced to develop various smart glasses products, but early offerings like Google Glass proved difficult to sell to consumers put off by high price points and design issues.

Snap, which unveiled its smart Spectacles in 2016, this year launched AR glasses but they are not for sale and are offered only to AR creators. Snap's CEO, Evan Spiegel, said in 2019 that he expected it would be a decade before consumers widely adopted AR smart glasses.

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently announced the company was setting up a team to work on building the metaverse, a shared virtual environment which it is betting will be the successor to the mobile internet.

Facebook, which has been criticized over its handling of user data, said on Thursday it would not access the media used by its smart-glasses customers without their consent. It also said it would not use the content of the photos or videos captured using the glasses and stored in the Facebook View app for personalizing ads.

With inputs from Reuters

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