Facebook has announced their first pair of smart glasses in partnership with Rayban. The glasses are based on Rayban’s classic wayfarer design. They feature a pair of cameras, a speaker, and a microphone. Users will be able to take photos and videos and answer calls. The glasses will be marketed as RayBan Stories.
Understanding the smart glasses hardware
The glasses are a few millimeters thicker and five grams heavier than conventional Rayban wayfarers. Each side of the glasses features a video camera. Together the cameras are able to take 5-megapixel videos and short stories. The glasses have only one button on the side that can be used to take short videos of up to 30 seconds and pictures. The frames also have open speakers and a three microphone array. The microphones enable voice commands for the device. Meaning it can be used hands-free.
Concerns regarding privacy
Despite the company’s assurances there is still concern that the glasses could be used inappropriately. Users could easily obscure the white led with the use of black tape or some putty. Facebook has stated that tampering with the glasses in this way would be a violation of the terms of service, however, there is no way for the company to detect if said tampering is taking place
Comparisons to Snap’s Spectacles
These are not the first smart glasses of their kind. Snapchat owner Snap recently released the third generation of their smart glasses that are called Spectacles. Even though each generation of Snap’s glasses has gotten better, they have failed to gain significant traction. Last year Snap had to write down a loss of 40 million dollars for their unsold inventory of spectacles. With similar capabilities, Facebook’s glasses are being compared to Spectacles. Facebook, however, has made it clear that they are not worried about the competition. The company believes that their glasses are more fashionable, and with a voice assistant, microphone and speakers are able to deliver a better user experience.
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