Third-Generation Ray-Ban Stories Shipping in 2025, to Feature a Neural Wristband and HUD
At an internal presentation of the company’s roadmap, Meta executives reportedly told thousands of staff that the third-generation Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses will be launched in 2025 and that they will feature a neural wristband and a HUD.
The smartglasses first shipped in 2021 and were made in collaboration with luxury eyewear maker Luxottica.
The current version of Ray-Ban Stories is simply camera glasses with limited uses – taking first-person videos and photos. The Stories also feature speakers and a microphone for music and phone calls and provide a spatial audio experience without any sort of display.
Snapchat has been selling generations of a similar product, also known as Spectacles, since 2017.
A report by The Verge says Meta’s VP of AR Alex Himel gave an internal preparation where he told the staff that a second generation of the smart glasses will be released later this year, confirming an earlier report by The Information. The report by the tech publication suggested that the smartglasses could take higher-quality videos and photos. The first generation of the Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses gave poor results in low light.
In the presentation, Himel also told Meta staff that a third generation of the smartglasses will ship in 2025 and will feature a display and also include a neural input wristband.
The heads-up display is known as “viewfinder” which will show the notifications, scan QR codes, and translate real-world text in real-time. It doesn’t deliver true AR; users will instead see a small floating contextual display.
The neural wristband uses tech from the startup CTRL-Labs which was acquired by Facebook in 2019.
Since then, Meta has been openly discussing the device’s development. The neural wristband uses electromyography (EMG) that reads the neural signals that pass through the user’s arms from the brain to their fingers. This kind of device can sense the subtlest of finger movements that aren’t even clearly perceptible to people close by.
Meta said the neural wristband would enable the wearer to control the glasses via hand movements like swiping their fingers “on an imaginary D-pad”.
The report says Himel told Meta staff that a higher-end model of the neural wristband will also be provided that will be used as a smartwatch and it will feature a display and a wearer-facing camera. The smartwatch will also be integrated with the glasses and will support fitness and health features and video calls.
True AR Glasses
Meta will launch a second generation of the wristband that will come with true augmented reality glasses later in the decade. Meta is aiming for this wristband to ultimately create a new form of communication that will be much faster than typing on a keyboard.
Meta has been developing its augmented reality glasses for 8 years and has pumped tens of billions into the project, regarded by the company’s boss Mark Zuckerberg as heralding the next “iPhone moment”. The first generation of the AR glasses will be costly and will primarily target developers and early adopters.
In April last year, Heath reported that the company was aiming to release the first generation of its AR glasses in 2024. A subsequent report in June stated that the target release date had been pushed to June 2026. Now Meta’s Himel has told staff that the device will be released in 2027.
Meta is also looking at monetization strategies and Himel is considering a combination of selling virtual goods along with optional add-ons such as AR ads and cloud backups.