TECHNOLOGY: Eye² Facebook and EssilorLuxottica Launch Ray-Ban Stories, their Long-Awaited Smart Glasses Collaboration By Staff Friday, September 10, 2021 12:24 AM MENLO PARK, Calif., and CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—Facebook Inc. and Ray-Ban on Thursday released their much-anticipated and awaited smart glasses Ray-Ban Stories, which the companies are calling “the next generation of smart glasses.” The collaboration brings forward “a new way to seamlessly capture, share and listen through your most authentic moments,” the companies said in a joint announcement. (Neither EssilorLuxottica nor Facebook had previously launched a smart glass product.) The companies' executives Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, and Rocco Basilico, chief wearables officer for Ray-Ban parent company EssilorLuxottica, spoke about the new smart glasses in a virtual announcement posted on Facebook, which detailed the partnership, technical specifications and the glasses’ capabilities. “We've believed for a long time that glasses are going to be an important part of building the next computing platform and unlocking a whole new set of experiences for people,” Zuckerberg said in the video announcement. “I'm excited that today we finally get to share what we've been working on with EssilorLuxottica. We wanted to build something that would enable you to easily capture and share experiences from your point of view. And we thought, if we're going to build best-in-class glasses, a great place to start is with the iconic Ray Ban frames that people already love.”Zuckerberg also noted that he believes Ray-Ban Stories represent an "important step on the road to developing the ultimate augmented reality glasses [but] there is a lot of technology that still needs to be developed and miniaturized to deliver the AR glasses that we all envision for the future." Basilico added, “The brand has been embraced by generations of icons and rebels who challenge the status quo, giving people around the globe the courage to express themselves. Regardless of where you live, Ray-Ban sits at the intersection of fashion and innovation, which is why today is so special. Ray-Ban Stories is more than just an update on a classic frame. It's a shared vision with Facebook, in which smart glasses let more people live in the moment.” The new glasses, which have a starting price of $299, are now available in three frame styles (Wayfarer, retro Round and iconic Meteor) and a variety of colors (six available) and lens combinations (sun, prescription, polarized, gradient, Transitions and clear). The glasses utilize an optimized Snapdragon processor, and weigh just five grams more than a standard pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer, the announcement noted. In addition, Ray-Ban Stories include a dual integrated 5- megapixel camera to capture photo and video; discreet open-ear speakers to listen, and a three-microphone audio array to deliver rich voice and sound transmission for calls and videos. In addition to the innovative technology in the glasses, Ray-Ban Stories launches in conjunction with a companion app, Facebook View (iOS and Android), which creates an easy way to import, edit and share content captured on the smart glasses, the announcement said. It provides the ability to upload on any social app stored on your phone, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok and /or Snapchat, among others, the announcement noted. Other features of the new smart glasses are:The 5-megapixel cameras on the front of the glasses are activated with a push of a button on the side of the frame. A tap starts recording the video, or by taping and holding the wearer can take a still photo. Or just say, “Hey, Facebook take a video,” for a hands-free experience. There are discrete open-ear speakers on the side of the frames that allow wearers to take calls or listen to music or podcasts from the glasses. The glasses save up to about 30 videos or 500 photos, and they are kept encrypted on the glasses, until the wearer is ready to download them to the Facebook view companion app, or they can be edited and then shared via Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or saved to a phone's camera roll. An LED light on the front of the glasses lets people know when the wearer is taking a photo or video, as it lights up to let people know that the camera is on. There is also a power switch to turn off the glasses, whenever you want, or if you're in a private space. When the glasses are off, they're completely off, Zuckerberg noted in his presentation. The microphone is off, and the wearer can't take photos or record videos.“We are incredibly proud to bring Ray-Ban Stories to life with our partners at Facebook,” Basilico added. “This is a milestone product that proves consumers don’t have to choose between technology and fashion. ... Our unique approach, combining decades of superior craftsmanship, a dedicated spirit of innovation and commitment to delivering only cutting edge technology has resulted in a wearable that people will truly love wearing. Added Andrew Bosworth, vice president, Facebook Reality Labs, “Ray-Ban Stories is designed to help people live in the moment and stay connected to the people they are with and the people they wish they were with. EssilorLuxottica has been nothing short of stellar in this partnership and through their commitment to excellence we were able to deliver on both style and substance in a way that will redefine the expectations of smart glasses. We're introducing an entirely new way for people to stay connected to the world around them and truly be present in life’ most important moments, and to look good while doing it.” Ray-Ban Stories are available at Ray-Ban stores and Ray-Ban.com in the U.S., U.K., Italy, Australia, Ireland and Canada. Beginning Monday (Sept. 13), they will be available at select Luxottica retail banners, including Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters, OPSM, David Clulow and Salmoiraghi & Viganò and soon after also at select wholesale clients, according to the announcement.