Facebook (now) is still trying to make AR-enabled, AI-assisted smart glasses happen. The company announced plans to field-test its camera and sensor-studded Project Aria research glasses in more places, with , and even in cars. These plans for even more data-hungry glasses were announced during a week where a trove of has reignited concerns that Facebook is putting its profits over user safety, harming children and damaging democracy in the process.
A newly announced partnership with BMW is going to explore the impact of driving while wearing smart glasses, a territory that’s already raised significant safety concerns in the past: Facebook’saren’t recommended for use while driving, and neither was Google’s Google Glass headset. According to Facebook, the partnership is also about exploring how AR glasses could integrate with cars and how they’d be used in a moving vehicle.
Facebook’s full-blown AR glasses, which will aim to blendwith AI that will through cameras, are still likely years away. Facebook’s soon-to-be-CTO Andrew Bosworth last year that in “the next one or two years, I think I’d be pretty surprised to see [full AR glasses] in the industry. So we’re definitely dealing with years — hopefully not decades.” However, Facebook already released its first pair of to widespread criticism.
Facebook began field-testing more advanced camera- and sensor-filled but display-free glasses called Project Ariawith 100 wearers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Those field tests are now expanding to a group of 3,000 employees, contractors and paid participants.
Facebook Reality Labs Research headsees as being how these glasses will work in everyday life, but for now those wrist inputs don’t exist: Facebook is doing demos and testing the glasses with wrist-worn clicker devices. Facebook is expecting the glasses to have their own AI that will assist with recalling lost items, an initiative that’s already and clearly could involve a need for recording and processing a considerable amount of video data.
Facebook’s handling privacy and data recording while wearing these test glasses via community use guidelines that sound a lot like the ones advising how to use Facebook’s camera-equipped Ray-Ban glasses — “ensuring that the external LED recording indicator is clearly visible” and “not recording sensitive activities or in sensitive places,” plus identifying who a tester works for by a “lanyard or other means.”
But Facebook’s promises of safe data handling with smart glasses come at a time when, and wide-ranging through its platforms, have never been greater.