The Meta Ray-Ban glasses are an innovative fusion of traditional design and future-oriented technology, the result of a collaboration between Meta (formerly Facebook Reality Labs) and Ray-Ban.
These smart glasses not only embody Ray-Ban’s classic style, but also integrate advanced technical features such as a 12-megapixel camera, hand-tracking sensors, see-through capabilities, touchpad controls, speakers and microphones. A striking feature is the ability to broadcast live video, which makes it an attractive tool for influencers and content creators. Meta has responded to privacy concerns by incorporating a white LED light that illuminates when the glasses are recording to prevent surreptitious recording 1 .
Despite these impressive functions, the Ray-Ban Meta Glasses are not complete AR glasses, as they lack AR lenses or displays. Their primary function is to capture and share content and offer basic smart functions such as voice assistance and music playback. They offer a glimpse into the future of head-orn computing and are a step towards a future where AR glasses may become as ubiquitous as smartphones 1 .
In terms of the future of smart glass technology, it is expected that the primary role of such devices will be to place computer-generated content in the user’s field of vision or ears, including augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality, 360 video, head-up displays and contextual audio content. Instead of looking at a rectangular screen, we will perceive words, images, objects and virtual environments by simply looking around. There will be a variety of smart glass types that deliver many types of experiences 2 .
Companies like Amazon could become leaders in the development of “smart frames” sold in ophthalmic optics that integrate the Alexa virtual assistant, with options for bone conduction or a combination of bone conduction and small speakers 2 . In the long term, everyday smart glasses could become increasingly sophisticated, while smartphones such as the iPhone X with Animoji and Apple Clips 2.0 prepare us for the smart glasses era by enabling the combination of the real and the virtual 2 .
The smartphone killer?
The form factor of Meta Ray-Ban eyewear is a decisive factor for mass adoption. By combining the iconic Ray-Ban design with advanced technology, these smart glasses become a fashionable accessory that inconspicuously integrates technical innovations into everyday life. The familiar look can break down inhibitions and make the technology more accessible.
Technical hurdles that still stand in the way of mass adoption include battery life, the weight and balance of the glasses, connectivity with various devices and the development of further, sophisticated AR functions that go beyond what is currently available.
In terms of data protection, smart glasses such as the Meta Ray-Ban pose a potential risk as they can inconspicuously collect and share personal data. The integrated camera and microphones could be activated without the knowledge of bystanders. While Meta has taken a measure with the LED display when recording, concerns remain about the collection and use of data, especially in the context of Meta’s extensive data ecosystems. The protection of privacy will become a key challenge as these technologies are further developed and become part of everyday life.
Virtual AI Assistant future
The development of three-dimensional virtual AI assistants in conjunction with smart glasses could enable a new dimension of interaction and convenience in daily life, as they would have the ability to seamlessly combine real and virtual elements. These assistants could react to our surroundings in real time, provide us with contextual information and possibly even interpret our gestures and facial expressions to create personalized and intuitive experiences. While the Meta Ray-Ban glasses may still be seen today as a simple device for capturing and sharing content, there is every indication that they are a precursor to a more far-reaching integration of AR technology into our daily lives.