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Facebook Connect: The Road to AR Glasses

At Facebook Reality Labs, our mission is to build tools that help people feel connected, anytime, anywhere. Today marks our seventh annual AR/VR conference, recently rebranded as Facebook Connect to reflect its broader scope. For the first time, the event was completely digital, free, and open to anyone to attend. From cutting-edge VR headsets to all-day wearable AR glasses, we talked about building the future — one that’s fundamentally and uniquely human. And underpinning it will be a deeper sense of connection with the important people and things in our lives.

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Virtual reality, tangible gains

We announced Oculus Quest 2, the next generation of all-in-one VR. It has our highest resolution display ever, weighs less than the original Quest, and starts at just $299 USD. Pre-orders open today, and Quest 2 will ship October 13. We also announced AAA gaming partnerships, some exciting Quest Platform news, updates to Oculus for Business, and more. Click here for additional information.

EssilorLuxottica partnership

We announced a multi-year partnership with EssilorLuxottica — the makers of eyewear from Oakley and Ray-Ban to Armani, Versace, and more. 

Together, we’ll build and release a pair of Ray-Ban branded smart glasses in 2021. They’ll be designed to capture the best of both worlds — innovative technology and fashion-forward style — and help people better connect with friends and family.

Building responsibly

We announced our set of principles for responsible innovation, which guide all of our work at Facebook Reality Labs. They are: Never surprise people, provide controls that matter, consider everyone, and put people first. These principles will continue to evolve as we build the next computing platform with people at the center. Click here to learn more.

Spark AR momentum

We’re making strides in augmented reality via our Spark AR platform, expanding the opportunity for expression and bringing people new experiences on a daily basis. Every month, more than 600 million people use AR across Facebook and Instagram. More than 400,000 creators from over 190 countries have published Spark AR effects for Facebook and Instagram, the majority of whom — 55% — are women. Together, they’ve published over 1.2 million AR effects to date. In just the last three months, more than 150 effect owners have hit over 1 billion views and uses. And beginning next year, we’ll open up Portal and Messenger to Spark AR creator publishing, giving more people fun new ways to connect.

Alongside some of the world’s most recognizable brands, businesses, and institutions, we’re exploring how AR can transform everything from shopping to education. These experiences are embedded directly into the Facebook family of apps and devices to give people a new way to connect no matter where they are. 

We’re working with the Smithsonian, the Palace of Versailles, and other museums and cultural institutions to bring art, history, science, and culture to life in the palm of your hand. We’re also exploring how AR can positively impact journalism, working with The New York Times to support their new AR Lab working to deliver AR news stories on Instagram and inform and entertain readers in an interactive way.

With AR, you can bring the best of in-store shopping with you anywhere. Walmart, West Elm, and Anastasia Beverly Hills are just a few of the newest brands to employ AR shopping across Facebook. AR Try On has been live in Facebook ads and with a small number of Instagram Checkout Partners since 2019, and we’re excited to bring it to Facebook Shops soon.

On Portal, we’re expanding the library of Story Time stories powered by Spark AR to better represent and celebrate the families who use them. The first entry in this new lineup will be Thank You, Omu!, the Caldecott-honored debut from Oge Mora. A heartwarming story of sharing and community, Thank You, Omu! launches on Portal next month. We’ll also bring Kevin Carrol’s A Kids Book About Belonging to Portal, and we’ll have more to share on these titles and others in the coming months.

Click here to learn more.

AR glasses research: The future of interaction

We shared our vision to build an AR glasses interface that will fundamentally change the way we interact with and experience the digital world — an interface that’s proactive rather than reactive, that’s intuitive, that understands our intent and acts almost before we know we need it. An interface that, for the first time, puts us at the center of our technology, rather than requiring us to adapt to it.

We also shared a look at our work on audio, electromyography, 3D mapping, and contextualized AI — some of the major research and development initiatives designed to tackle the problem of AR interaction. As part of this, we unveiled a new initiative called Project Aria. Starting this month, trained Facebook employees and contractors will wear Project Aria glasses in real-world conditions, indoors and outdoors, to help us answer some of the questions — both technical and social — we need to ask as we build the AR glasses of the future.

These innovations help drive our progress toward the next great computing platform with people at the center. We look forward to sharing more in the months ahead.

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