It’s All About The Pixels

Apple to Sell Smart AR Glasses by 2020, FB Partners with Luxottica

The same week Facebook formed a partnership to develop AR glasses with a major eyeglass manufacturer, Apple filed a patent application that points to progress on the company’s plans to release AR glasses by 2020. and, both reviewed Apple’s latest move. The company put their current headset-style goggles on the back burner, according to reports, and the new product will look more like regular horn-rimmed glasses or sunglasses. The big trick is getting the lenses to turn opaque or clear in the exact spot needed for the wearer to see the information being displayed, even in bright lights.

The system Apple is proposing isn’t passive or even necessarily full-lens in scope; rather, it can “selectively darken portions of the real-world light from view,” according to Miniature mirrors can direct ultraviolet light to individual pixels within the lens, dimming or fully blocking light to allow for greater contrast in displaying computer-generated content over “real-world objects.”

Current AR glasses are typically stuck with a single level of lens transparency that can make digital content look ghostly, while providing a simultaneous “mixed” view of real and digital elements. Assuming Apple’s system is as capable as the patent suggests, the lenses could go partially opaque in a way that boosts the brightness of digital objects, or potentially fully opaque in a manner akin to VR glasses. said the product could be anything from a pair of smart glasses, to something closer to Google’s now-defunct Daydream virtual reality headset. That said, descriptors in the patent seem to hint at something more glasses-like in form.

If Apple’s rollout proceeds according to the expected schedule, the company will reveal more next year. Some support for stereoscopic AR glasses was recently discovered in beta versions of iOS 13.

Facebook Partners with Luxottica for AR Glasses

According to the CNBC report, Facebook has been developing its own augmented reality glasses at its Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington, for a few years now. But the project, code-named Orion, has reportedly seen enough troubles—including difficulty in miniaturizing the hardware into a device consumers would actually want to wear—that Facebook has partnered with Luxottica, makers of Ray Ban, for assistance.