At the fittingly virtual event, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced that not only will Facebook employees soon be testing Facebook’s own AR glasses prototype, part of a research initiative known as Project Aria, but that device will arrive for consumers next year.
“We don’t have a product yet to share with you today but I am excited to share that we have formed a multi-year partnership starting with building and releasing our first pair of smart glasses next year,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg also announced a multi-year partnership with luxury eyewear giant Luxottica, which owns Ray-Ban and Oakley, among many other brands. Zuckerberg suggested that the Luxottica partnership would help accommodate an array of styles and preferences that people might have for the devices.
In a produced video that wasn’t a demo of the device itself, Facebook showed off some theoretical uses for its AR glasses: getting an overlay of street directions, music recommendations in a record store or even visual alert showing you where your lost keys went.
In 2018, Facebook confirmed that it was indeed building a pair of augmented reality glasses. “We want to see those glasses come into reality, and I think we want to play our part in helping to bring them there,” Facebook’s head of augmented reality Ficus Kirkpatrick told TechCrunch at the time.