Facebook and Apple Smart Glasses are about to hit us – but are they just another fad? | News from science and technology

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The age of smart glasses has arrived, at least Facebook and Apple believe, both of which are expected to launch devices in the near future, and are seriously betting that this isn’t just another fad.

Consumers around the world are already spending tens of billions of dollars a year on wearable technology, especially wristwatches, but previous attempts to bring smart glasses to market ended disappointingly.

In the near future we will see many companies trying to gain a foothold in this market, possibly upgrading existing specifications or launching entirely new product lines.

Where do we stand and what can we expect?

As wearable devices, smart glasses can offer a range of functions, from visual – including transparent heads-up displays and augmented reality (AR) – to audio, which connects the wearer to voice assistants.

The long-term goal for both Facebook and Apple is to bring devices to market that offer a digitally generated AR overlay that is placed over the world that the wearer can actually see.

Facebook’s first smart glasses will hit the market later this year Mark Zuckerberg, although a specific date has not yet been announced by the company.

Back in January, the company’s CEO said they were “still working on some of the fundamental technologies to underpin them – and the final product is still a few years away.”

“This year we’re excited to give a first glimpse of what will be when we launch our first data glasses,” added he, made with premium eyewear brands Ray-Ban and Luxottica.

On a recent conference call, he said the Facebook glasses “do some pretty nice things,” but suggested they were just a stepping stone on the road to “full augmented reality glasses.”

The ultimate goal, according to Zuckerberg, was “to help build the metaverse”, a concept coined in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash to describe a kind of three-dimensional virtual reality version of the Internet.

Mark Zuckerberg replies: ‘What is the Metaverse?’

It’s a virtual environment. We can be present with people in digital spaces. And you can think of this as an embodied internet that you are on instead of just watching. And we believe this will be the successor to the mobile internet.

You will be able to access the Metaverse from all different devices and different levels of loyalty, from apps on phones and PCs to immersive virtual and augmented reality devices.

Within the metaverse you can build a hangout, play games with friends, work, create and much more. You will basically be able to do anything you can do on the internet today, as well as some things that don’t make sense on the internet today, such as: B. Dancing.

The determining quality of the metaverse is presence, that is, this feeling that you are really with another person or in a different place. Creation, avatars and digital objects will be central to our expression and this will lead to completely new experiences and economic opportunities.

Overall, I think this is one of the most exciting projects we will work on in our lives.

Apple has filed for patents for AR technology for more than a decade, with a number of such functions already available on the iPad and iPhone.

“AR is big and profound,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook back in 2017. “And this is one of those huge things that we will look back on and be amazed at the beginning.”

Bloomberg reports that Mr. Cook is staying with the company for the launch of a final line of products, purported to be Apple’s smart glasses, before stepping down as CEO.

Apple Glasses is not expected to hit the market as soon as Facebook’s product, as some analysts suspect the device won’t arrive before 2023, but there are competing suggestions that the company may be a mixed reality much sooner -Headset launches. However, nothing has been confirmed yet.

Some have suggested that the lack of developer tools for Apple’s headset means that it may hit the market much later than the Apple Glasses, which can borrow from the AR features available on Apple’s mobile devices.

A number of augmented reality functions are already available for the iPad and iPhone
Image:
A number of augmented reality functions are already available for the iPad and iPhone

A year after Snap first launched its Spectacles in 2016, the company had to write off $ 40 million (£ 29 million) and said it misjudged “the strong early demand” for the devices.

But the company persevered, launching a second generation and then a third of the devices, with a limited increase in functionality for recording short videos and uploading them to users’ Snapchat accounts.

But a fourth version of Spectacles, announced this year, includes a more complete AR feature for the first time.

The catch is that these are not for sale, but instead offered to AR effect creators as the company tries to resolve issues like 30 minute battery life.

The latest Spectacles from Snap bring users some AR capabilities
Image:
The latest Spectacles from Snap bring users some AR capabilities

A consumer prototype for the Google Glass was discontinued in 2016, even though the company is selling an Enterprise Edition.

The product is mainly used today by employees in logistics and manufacturing to access information hands-free via a small screen in the upper corner of the right lens.

Microsoft’s HoloLens is on the market, but not cheaper than US $ 3,500 and, like Google Glass, is primarily aimed at industrial customers.

By presenting holograms alongside the real world environment, users could get assistance in a number of situations – from surgery to rebuilding a motorcycle, as the advertisement shows.

Image:
Microsoft’s HoloLens product is publicly available

Amazon is another company with a line of smart glasses, although the Echo Frames are not lacking any visual features and instead give customers access to the Alexa voice assistant.

It’s not clear whether something else will come from Amazon, but there is something to build on if the gambling games from Facebook and Apple pay off.

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