- Facebook will still launch its smart glasses later this year, its head of AR and VR said Thursday.
- They could include facial recognition technology, but only if privacy issues can be fixed, Andrew Bosworth said.
- Facebook is working with Ray-Ban’s parent company, Luxottica, to make augmented reality glasses.
- Visit Business Insider SA for more stories.
Facebook is “looking” to include facial recognition technology in its next smart glasses, its head of augmented and virtual reality (VR) said on Thursday.
But the tech giant will only deploy the software if people want it, Andrew Bosworth said during questions and answers on Instagram.
He said the glasses would be released this year and that Facebook was still working with Ray-Ban’s parent company, Luxottica, to make them.
“It’s coming together pretty well,” he said.
The company has been developing its AR smart glasses since at least 2017. Facebook has said relatively little about the project since CEO Mark Zuckerberg mocked it at Facebook’s annual developer conference in 2017.
On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that Bosworth told employees at a company-wide meeting that Facebook was studying legal and privacy issues around facial recognition.
In response to the article, Bosworth he tweeted On Thursday evening, the company “has been open about our efforts to build RA glasses and they are still in the early stages.” The glasses “would be fine” without facial recognition technology, but there were some “pleasant use cases,” he said.
At our meeting today, I specifically said that the future product would be fine without it, but there were some nice use cases if it could be done in a way that the public and regulators would be comfortable with.
– Boz (@boztank) February 25, 2021
Bosworth tracked those questions on Instagram later that night.
“If people don’t want this technology, we don’t have to supply it,” he told fans. “It’s really a debate we need to have with the public.”
When asked what his main ethical concerns were, he said “authority structures” could abuse facial recognition software and cameras and microphones always connected to AR.
Regulators aren’t sure what stance they will take on facial recognition software, Bosworth said, but “the product will go well anyway.”
A digital mock-up of Facebook’s proposals at the 2017 developer conference showed that they looked like normal glasses with the ability to overlay digital objects in the visual field.
In 2019, a source who had tested a prototype of the glasses told Rob Price of Insider that the glasses looked much more like traditional glasses than other bulky AR headphones.
“They look like really high-end glasses,” the person said, adding that “it’s light enough not to feel heavy on your face and not light enough to feel like you could just sit and break them. “.
Facebook and Oculus, the VR company it bought in 2014, have bold visions for the future of virtual reality and virtual reality.
“In 20 or 30 years’ time I predict that instead of wearing smartphones everywhere, we’ll be wearing smart glasses, ”Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Oculus, said at the 2017 developer conference .
“These glasses will offer VR, AR and everything in between, and we’ll be wearing them all day.”