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Facebook working on Project Aria augmented reality glasses – with smart glasses launching in 2021

(Image credit: Facebook)

It’s already got virtual reality wrapped up with its Oculus VR headsets, but Facebook is looking to get ahead of the competition with augmented reality too. During the Facebook Connect event, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed Project Aria, Facebook’s augmented reality research hardware of the future.

"The goal here,” said Mark Zuckerberg during the Facebook Connect event, “is to develop some normal-size, nice-looking glasses that you can wear all day, and interact with holograms, digital objects and information while still being present with the people and the world around you.”

Though nothing beyond research hardware was revealed, Zuckerberg detailed the use of advanced motion sensors and neural interfaces in its development, and the fact that Facebook  employees will be using the in-progress hardware out in the real world soon.

"Now there's still a lot of work to be done on the foundational technologies,” admitted Zuckerberg. 

“But Project Aria is the first research device we're putting out into the world to help us understand the hardware and software needed to build the first consumer augmented reality glasses."

That’s not to say there isn’t something to look forward to in the nearer future however. Facebook is also working on a pair of smart glasses, too, working alongside eyewear brands such as Luxottica and Ray-Ban. Again, details were scarce, and no hardware was shown, but these simpler specs will be available at some point in 2021, so expect more detailed news on that soon.

Facebook has already made great leaps with its AR efforts, with its Instagram platform littered with fun augmented reality features. With talk of holograms, instant navigation and translation features – right in front of your eyes – Facebook is certainly thinking big with its ambitions, beyond putting a wagging dog tongue on an Instagram video.