Bulletins

Meta's ambitious AR roadmap includes two pairs of smart glasses

The social networking giant will have both high-end and cheaper versions of AR glasses coming in two years.

Mark Zuckerberg
According to Mark Zuckerberg, the metaverse is coming fast.
Photo: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Meta's pile of augmented and virtual reality projects is expanding, and now that list includes another pair of AR smart glasses, according to a new report from The Verge.


We've known for quite some time that Facebook is working on a variety of AR devices. Last fall, the company launched its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses (though "smart" is doing a lot of work there), and Meta already makes VR headsets under its Quest line. The company is reportedly working on a high-end pair of AR glasses codenamed Nazare. Interestingly, Meta wants to avoid tethering the glasses to a phone. Instead, Nazare will connect to a separate device that will aid with computing, similar to Magic Leap's line of mixed-reality headsets that use a tethered puck to help bring down the weight and bulk of the wearable.

Meta is also working on a cheaper version codenamed Hypernova, The Verge reported, which will pair with a smartphone instead and rely on a smaller heads-up display, similar to that of defunct smart glasses-maker North, which was acquired by Google in 2020. It will mainly be used to display phone notifications and messages similar in ways to the original Google Glass, though that means it may not have the capability to display 3D graphics as Nazare is designed to do.

Nazare will reportedly also feature eye-tracking and a front-facing camera as well as a custom optics system and chip set. Both devices will pair with a wrist-worn wearable based on brain-computer interface technology from CTRL-Labs, a startup Meta acquired in 2019, that will let you operate the glasses effectively with your mind.

This is done through the process of electromyography (EMG), though such tech has yet to be deployed in a consumer device at this scale or sophistication. According to The Verge, Meta has been working for years now to figure out if EMG is a viable input method that it can include in its first set of AR products. If so, it's poised to be a major selling point and differentiator compared with rumored AR glasses from Apple and other tech giants.

To set up a runway for delivering all these products, Meta is planning to launch a smartwatch this year or in 2023 that will, eventually, be updated with CTRL-Labs tech in time for the launch of both Nazare and Hypernova in 2024.

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