Facebook, Ray-Ban team up for cool smart glasses

NEW YORK • Facebook Inc is teaming up with the maker of Ray-Bans to develop smart glasses that would let wearers use apps to connect to their friends and family.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the linkup with Essilor-Luxottica SA, the world’s largest maker of eyewear, on Wednesday at Facebook’s annual conference on new technologies, in an attempt to popularise intelligent glasses with help from the Ray-Ban brand.

The two companies are entering a field marked by repeated flops, including high-profile efforts like Intel Corp’s Vaunt glasses and the Google Glass project spearheaded by Alphabet Inc co-founder Sergey Brin. The latter product raised privacy concerns and some critics complained its design looked geeky.

Google pulled the plug on the consumer headset years ago, however an enterprise edition of Glass has found a welcoming home in warehouses, factories and shipping depots, helping guide employees around the workplace.

Facebook’s smart glasses will allow wearers to use communication apps, The Menlo Park, California company said. Interest in augmented-reality applications and wearable devices is high among most technology companies, and smart glasses form the nexus of the two. Specifications and pricing for the product of Facebook and Luxottica’s collaboration will be announced ahead of the launch, scheduled for next year. — Bloomberg