Smart glasses are currently in the spotlight for being some of the most hotly anticipated wearable tech on the consumer market. This kind of technology used to only be possible in science fiction movies. However, nowadays, the global smart glasses market is going from strength-to-strength, with Yahoo! Finance reporting that it was valued at $218.86 million in 2022 and is expected to register a CAGR of 9.50% up to 2028.
One of the reasons credited for the significant increase in the smart glasses market is the demand and interest in related innovations. Big tech companies have made huge leaps when it comes to the kind of technology they’ve developed for the wearable accessory. Chief among them is the collaboration between Meta and Ray-Ban, which resulted in the release of Ray-Ban Stories. Since their introduction, these smart glasses have been extremely well received by the consumer market thanks to their ability to innovate the user experience. So, it is no surprise that Meta and Ray-Ban are already set to release their next generation of smart glasses.
Here’s more on the Stories, the innovations it introduced to the smart glasses industry, and how Ray-Ban and Meta are further improving upon its merits with their newest iteration of the futuristic eyewear product.
The first gen release
In 2021, Ray-Ban and Meta collaborated to roll out Ray-Ban Stories, which took the eyewear brand’s iconic frames and merged them with smart technology. The Ray-Ban smart glasses offer stylish wearability while making it more convenient to stay connected while on the go. Currently, the Stories are available in classic frames like the Wayfarers and Aviators, which makes styling easy. This is unlike earlier iterations of smart glasses, like the now-discontinued Google Glasses, which featured clunky silhouettes that limited realistic usability.
Given that tech leader Meta is the other half of this partnership, the smart glasses are equipped with top-of-the-line technology. The Stories are capable of taking photos and recording up to 60 seconds of video with dual integrated 5MP cameras that capture life’s moments as they happen from a unique first-person perspective. Furthermore, this content can be wirelessly shared to social media without needing to use a mobile device. In addition to its main content features, the smart glasses can also play music and take calls.
Following the success of Ray-Ban and Meta’s first-generation smart glasses, the collaboration between the two industry leaders continues, and plans to release a newer model called the Ray-Ban Meta are well underway. According to reports from Meta, these new smart glasses have improved audio with twice the bass and reduced audio leakage when taking calls. Additionally, the glasses now have ultra-wide 12MP cameras that can be used for up to 36 hours upon removal from the charging case. And unlike the Stories, which can only upload photos and videos to social media, Meta gives users the option to shoot and upload live streams directly to Facebook and Instagram.
What’s interesting, though, is the integration of AI. Users can simply say, “Hey, Meta,” and engage with a program installed in the glasses to accomplish a myriad of tasks. AI seeks to optimize the hands-free, on-the-go experience of wearing the Ray-Ban Meta by providing an assistive feature to help with brainstorming ideas, getting information, and controlling the smart glasses’ features. While the company admits that the glasses’ AI model is still in the early days of application, it continues to further test and develop the capabilities of the programming to improve user experience over time. That said, the initiative to incorporate AI into smart glasses is already a feat in itself, and the clear dedication to improvement puts Meta and Ray-Ban at the forefront of the industry once again.
Of course, other smart glasses manufacturers are also taking advantage of the prevalence of AI to incorporate these programs into their technology. For example, Netherlands-based assistive technology company Envision unveiled its latest AI-powered smart glasses for blind and visually impaired users. The Envision smart glasses can read and translate digital and handwritten text from any surface to turn it into speech. Moreover, it enables those who struggle with vision to rely on AI assistive features to help them navigate daily life with ease.
Given the current AI-powered smart glasses on the market, it can be expected that more wearable technology will bring this kind of tech into their products. However, the prevalence of AI also raises some concerns over how it would lead to a shift in the use of social media. Our article details how Meta plans to charge Europeans for an ad-free user experience, which could further present changes following the introduction of AI into their apps.
Despite this, interest in AI and the new Ray-Ban Meta remains high. According to TechRadar, the smart glasses had considerable pre-orders from the Ray-Ban website ahead of its October 17 release. The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Collection starts at $299 and can be fitted with prescription or polarized lenses. However, the collection will only be available in 15 countries upon release, including in the US, Canada, Australia, and throughout Europe. With the growing demand for smart glasses, though, interested consumers can expect a wider release for the product soon enough.