Can wearable tech be fashionable? Meet Facebook x Ray-Ban's new smart glasses

The Augmented Reality market has seen unprecedented growth since 2019, but AR glasses, often aesthetically bulky and ugly, were yet to experience a leap to adoption by the fashion industry.

Google’s glasses are in case in point: in public nobody wants to wear a visible tech gadget on their face. Facebook earlier this year came up with an AR baseball cap, also a non-starter for fashion folks. Despite the forward-thinking headgear as an alternative to traditional AR headsets and goggles which the company claims are “sometimes thick, heavy, and unbalanced and/or may generated excessive heat that is uncomfortable against the user’s skin,” the cap appears to have been created without style in mind, like so many wearables.

Enter Ray-Ban. Facebook and the purveyor of authentically cool sunglasses have launched Ray-Ban Stories, with the tech hidden in styles resembling its iconic Wayfarer shape. A discreet camera allows the smart glasses to capture photos and video, listen to music or take phone calls, without the need for a bulky cap, ugly eyewear or alien gadget.

Same glasses, hidden tech

Ray-Ban Stories have integrated cameras, with photos and videos that can be captured via voice command. What is perhaps annoying is a hard-wired capture LED lights up when taking a photo or video. Speakers are built-in, which was possible by a process of miniaturisation.

Ray-Ban’s parent company EssilorLuxottica and Facebook worked together from concept through final design to integrate smart technology into what it calls an “iconic form factor,” working with existing shapes that don’t scream tech gadget when worn. All the components had to be re-engineered to fit into the smallest possible space and lightest possible frame.

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Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses are Facebook’s first foray into a multi-year partnership with EssorLuxottica. Together the social media and eyewear giants aim to revolutionise the wearables market fusing innovation with style, something most companies have been unable to achieve.

Will smart glasses become a part of everyday life? Let’s wait and see….


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