Facebook unveils Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses

The wearables contain cameras and microphones and link to a new Facebook app.

Facebook has unveiled its first pair of smart glasses, which house speakers and cameras, built with eyewear firm Ray-Ban.

Called Ray-Ban Stories, the glasses feature two five-megapixel cameras to take photos and videos, as well as built-in microphones and speakers enabling users to make calls and listen to audio.

The glasses also come with built-in LED lights to let people nearby know when the wearer is taking a photo or video and pair with the new Facebook View app, which enables users to share content from the glasses to their social media accounts.

The glasses, which are available in a range of colours and styles, are priced at £299 and will be available from September 13.

Announcing the new hardware, Facebook acknowledged that privacy was a key issue it had looked to address when creating the new device.

“As with any new device, we have a big responsibility to help people feel comfortable and provide peace of mind, and that goes not only for device owners but the people around them, too,” the social network said in a blog post.

“That’s why we baked privacy directly into the product design and functionality of the full experience, from the start.

“For example, we have hardware protections like a power switch to turn off the cameras and microphone, as well as the aforementioned capture LED hardwired to the camera that shines a white light when you’re taking photos or videos to notify people nearby.”

Facebook's Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses
The smart glasses come in a wide range of styles and colours (Facebook)

The firm said that by default, the Stories collects some data needed to make the glasses work, such as battery status and Facebook log-in details to verify a user’s identity when they use the View app, but further data collection requires users to opt in.

Facebook said it would also offer guidance to users on how to safely use the glasses with regard to others.

“Building privacy features and controls isn’t enough on its own. We recognise that we need to proactively educate people on how to use Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses safely and responsibly, both for their own protection and that of others around them,” the company said.

“We’ve developed guidelines for what is and isn’t an appropriate use of the glasses, some of which are surfaced right in the app during onboarding, and which are available in full online on our dedicated privacy microsite for Ray-Ban Stories.

“These tips include respecting people’s preferences if they ask you to stop recording or don’t want to be in a photo or video, not capturing photos and videos while driving, and turning off the glasses in private areas like places of worship, a doctor’s office, or locker rooms.”

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