Facebook is moving ahead with its plans to test AR glasses in the wild: The company's Project Aria AR glasses made an appearance in a FCC filing Tuesday morning, suggesting that the company is getting ready to equip a small set of employees with the device in order to collect real-world data about AR use cases. A Facebook spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The filing was made by a shell company named "Gnome Tarn LLC," with the product being identified only as "Small Flexible, Gemini." However, a drawing of the glass temple matches the design of a Project Aria prototype previously shared by Facebook (hat tip to Sean Hollister). Gnome Tarn is a lake in the Seattle area; Facebook's Oculus team has in the past frequently used beaches and bodies of water for its code names.
The filing is otherwise heavily redacted, but shows that the headgear will be equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS antennas. The device runs a version of Android 7, which is also what Facebook's Oculus Quest VR headset is based on.
Facebook first announced plans for Project Aria at its AR/VR developer conference last fall. At the time, executives said that the company was hand-building 100 units of an experimental smart glass device that is equipped with cameras but doesn't feature a display. The idea behind Project Aria is to collect real-world video and sensor data that can then be used to inform Facebook's AR efforts going forward.
Separately, Facebook is also gearing up to release smart glasses made in partnership with Ray-Ban this year.
Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.