In AR scene, there is hardly a device more anticipated than the future Facebook AR glasses. The company has been dropping hint after hint, sometimes unintentionally, on what we may expect come launch time. The latest newsworthy hint is the fact that Facebook has separated hundreds of its Reality Labs employees to a new division for developing hardware, AR glasswear in particular.
Anticipation for the future Facebook AR glasses is well-founded, given that the company’s line of Virtual Reality products is rated so highly by users. The fear is that without a solid Augmented Reality offering the media giant might find itself lagging behind in the still chartering landscape of reality tech giants. With no shortage of foresight, Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly stressed that the future Facebook AR glasses are the company long-term priority. Moving ‘a few hundred’ employees devoted to the purpose is the clearest signal of the serious, get-it-right approach.
This is not the first major human resource shift Facebook is charged with. Not unlike the previous, this one is largely a behind-the-scenes affair, public getting a whiff only through knowledgeable insight. As far as Facebook themselves, the spokesperson Tera Randall gave out little more that workers number, the aforequoted few hundred. Splitting Reality Labs in two, the AR Glasses developing crew will be led by respectable names like Michael Abrash and Andrew Bosworth aka ‘Boz’. Having these two on board leading a team of hundreds means that we may be seeing Facebook eyewear sooner than expected.
Marking a new chapter in the future Facebook AR glasses development, this is a good opportunity to check up on what we know about them. The company’s VR/AR adventure began with $2 billion Oculus takeover. A line of VR headset ensued, but AR has in the meantime crystalized as the financial promised land. So naturally, plans for glasses began.
Fast forward to 2017, the F8 conference, where Zuckerberg himself dropped the AR bomb in front of the cheering crowd. ‘We know where we want to go eventually’, he said, ‘make reality better’. It is at F8 speech that a date was offered too. Having admitted that the technology is lacking behind, Zuckerberg gave a 5-7 years’ time frame for the future Facebook AR glasses. And if that was not enough, Facebook head of AR Ficus Kirkpatrick cheerfully admitted that plans were under way. ‘Yeah! Well of course we are working on it’. ‘We want to see those glasses come into reality’.
As far the glasses themselves, they come with high expectation rivaling that of the failing Google Glass. The future Facebook AR glasses are supposed to be thin, light, and benefit from new waveguide display. These are all the attributes that a source, said to have handled an early prototype, describes: ‘light enough to not feel heavy on your face, and it wasn’t light enough to feel like you could sit down and break them’. Pair the prototype info with last year patent approval for ‘near-eye display’ glasses, season it with new stuff management, and leave it a few years. The Facebook AR glasses should be ready!