Mark Zuckerberg met Leonardo Del Vecchio to plan a “new smart glasses” and demonstrate Meta’s neural wristband.
“Great to be back in Milan to discuss plans for new smart glasses with Leonardo Del Vecchio and the EssilorLuxottica team. Here Leonardo uses a prototype of our neural interface EMG wristband that will eventually allow you to control your glasses and other devices. †
Del Vecchio is the billionaire founder and chairman of Luxottica, the Italian company behind brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley. Meta and Luxottica have already collaborated on a smart glasses product that shipped in September called Ray-Ban Stories. Stories are essentially camera glasses – they also have speakers and a microphone for music and phone calls, but there is no display of any kind. Snapchat has been selling a similar product, Spectacles, since 2017.
Until now, it was unclear how important Meta saw this partnership for its long-term ambitions. EssilorLuxottica has a near monopoly in the global eyewear market – its brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley are among the most recognizable in the world. Maintaining this partnership could be an important part of Meta’s strategy to take on Apple later this decade.
Last month The information Meta reported plans to launch a second-generation Ray Ban Stories in 2023. The edge Meta plans two different glasses for 2024: affordable heads-up display glasses codenamed Hypernova and expensive real AR glasses codename Project Nazare.
The report also claimed that both Nazare and Hypernova will be bundled with Meta’s in-development neural wristband — the device Zuckerberg is demonstrating to Del Vecchio. Meta has openly discussed its development. The device reads the neural signals traveling through your arm from your brain to your hand, using EMG (electromyography). Such a device can track finger movements exactly before it happens, and can even detect incredibly subtle gestures that are not clearly perceptible to others nearby.
†Everyone I’ve talked to who’s tried a prototype of the band Meta is working on says it’s one of the most impressive tech demos they’ve ever witnessed. If it works at scale, the company thinks it could have the next mouse and keyboardAlex Heath of The Verge wrote.
Zuckerberg’s “ultimately lets you control your glasses and other devices” statement seems to support The Verge’s claim that this device will be bundled with Meta’s future glasses — and demonstrating it to Del Vecchio suggests the EssilorLuxottica partnership goes much further. than today’s Ray-Ban stories.