It's clear that since the introduction of Google Glass, many high-profile players are looking to bring AR-enabled eyewear to the mass market. We already have excellent HUD systems from BMW and Audi, as well as solid functionality from the AR Oakley Goggles, but what about the future of consumer AR? From Microsoft's HoloLens to the rather mysterious Magic Leap project, we've been waiting for a truly revolutionary mass-market product from one of the big tech giants, but as of yet none have delivered.
But what about the Facebook AR glasses that made the news in 2016? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tantalized audiences worldwide last year by showing off a render of the augmented reality (AR) glasses that they've been working on at Facebook HQ, but he didn't give us any solid information about the device. Now, almost a year later, what do we know about this project? Here are 3 things we know today:
1. They will look like normal, everyday glasses
Facebook evidently want their AR glasses to look as much like ordinary glasses as possible, as opposed to the somewhat chunky VR and AR headsets that have been introduced so far. This will undoubtedly mean they need to find (or develop) technology and components small enough to be integrated into such a sleek pair of frames, and could explain why the project is taking so long.
2. They will use a waveguide display
A patent application filed by the Oculus team (a part of Facebook) was recently obtained by Business Insider, and this application revealed that they glasses would use a 'waveguide display with two-dimensional scanner'. This waveguide display with project light and images into the user's eye, and is similar to the technology used in the upcoming Microsoft AR project.
3. They will feature AR Facebook, superimposed video and audio functionality
We know from the patent application and from the F8 conference that Zuckerberg wants to be able to 'put Facebook on your face'. So we can be sure the glasses will incorporate the social media platform via their AR interface. We also know they will be capable of playing audio via connected speakers or headphones, and will superimpose photos, graphics and videos onto your real-world view via their waveguide display.