Facebook Reality Labs Says AR Glasses Still Years Away

smart glasses

A day after Facebook generated headlines with twin announcements about smart glasses and upcoming work on wearable augmented reality, the company’s chief scientist said in a Reuters report that the company is unlikely to fully integrate the two for five to 10 years.

True augmented reality glasses “are still years off,” Michael Abrash, director of Facebook Reality Labs Research, said in the Reuters report. “That’s not a 2021 thing. I’m talking about the future.”

The news outlet also quoted a Facebook spokesman saying the smart glasses the company is scheduled to release next year with French eyewear firm EssilorLuxotica will not include a display and will need to be used in conjunction with smartphones.

With true AR glasses, Abrash said, a smartphone becomes “an accessory to the glasses, because the glasses are how you see and interact with the world.” But the technology to pull that off is not yet available, he said, in part because wearable glasses will need to weigh no more than around 2.5 ounces.

In January of this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicted the 2020s would be a big decade for augmented reality.

In his annual new year blog post, he wrote, “While I expect phones to still be our primary devices through most of this decade, at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology.

“Augmented and virtual reality are about delivering a sense of presence — the feeling that you’re right there with another person or in another place. Instead of having devices that take us away from the people around us, the next platform will help us be more present with each other and will help the technology get out of the way. Even though some of the early devices seem clunky, I think these will be the most human and social technology platforms anyone has built yet.”