Facebook and Ray-Ban have today announced the launch of a “first generation” pair of smart glasses.
Facebook and Ray-Ban have today announced the launch of a "first generation" pair of smart glasses that combine the style of a cool pair of sunnies with some of the most innovative technology available.
The Ray-Ban Stories are an engineering and technological marvel, which at the same time raise more questions than there are answers about the use of discreet video cameras in public and private settings.
As a concept, the idea is that you don't need to grab your phone to record video of all those little moments in life that you see and want to share with your loved ones anywhere in the world via social platforms.
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Instead, using the Ray-Ban Stories you simple touch a button to start a 30-second video recording.
This recording stays on the glasses until you open the Facebook View app, which downloads the videos (and photos) taken by the tiny 5MP camera lenses on each side of the glasses, onto your phone.
Once on your phone, you can share them on any platform you choose.
Here's how Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's president of their Reality Labs, explains them: "Ray-Ban Stories is designed to help people live in the moment and stay connected to the people they are with and the people they wish they were with. EssilorLuxottica has been nothing short of stellar in this partnership and through their commitment to excellence we were able to deliver on both style and substance in a way that will redefine the expectations of smart glasses."
He goes onto say, "We're introducing an entirely new way for people to stay connected to the world around them and truly be present in life's most important moments, and to look good while doing it."
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From a technical perspective, these are certainly impressive.
The video, while not Full HD in resolution, is very clear.
Using computer processing on your smartphone, videos are also stabilised so they look smooth when watching back your walk, run, or ride.
But the real questions here aren't about the technology, they are about privacy.
Facebook knows this, and they say they were "designed with privacy in mind".
In a blog post announcing the product, they say "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".
"That's why we baked privacy directly into the product design and functionality of the full experience, from the start."
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With that in mind, there is a physical power switch to disable cameras and microphones, plus a small but bright LED light on the corner of the glasses to indicate recording status.
When first setting up the device, the Facebook View app goes to great lengths to explain the responsible use of these glasses, for them not to be used in private places, or while driving and many more examples.
Sadly though, that won't stop anyone who has a mind to breach the privacy of others. Facebook will market these products and their features in a way that raises awareness of the possibility they are being used next time you see someone wearing sunglasses.
But are we really ready to question every single person wearing sunglasses and their motive?
For me, these glasses are a unique and new way to film short social media videos, and I have little doubt that within weeks we'll have a huge amount social media influencers around the globe showing off a whole new view of their world via their glasses, not their smartphone.
Facebook's Ray-Ban Stories go on sale today from $449 in Australia, at OPSM and Sunglass Hut or Ray-Ban online.
They will come in a small range of frames, wide range of lenses, including prescription or Photochromic (transitions) lenses ($539).
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/technology-news-privacy-questions-as-facebook-launch-rayban-sunglasses-with-builtin-video-camera/1989ee85-39d0-4dd5-88fa-9648da740dab