Facebook and Ray-Ban today unveiled Stories, a new line of tech-forward glasses the companies hope will pave the way for a future of smart and stylish AR devices. Stories appear to fit in the same category as the first three generations of Snap’s Spectacles, but also include integrated audio like Bose Frames, making them a little less smart than we had initially hoped—but a lot smarter than most.

Stories are being offered in three distinct flavors: Wayfarer, Round, and Meteor, all of which appear to be pretty similar to original Ray-Ban frame designs. They’re launching today at $300 direct from Ray-Ban as well as official online retailers in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Italy and Australia.

Stories look pretty sleek, which is partly because they don’t have any form of display within, as they feature the sort of lenses you might find in any normal pair of sunglasses or prescription specs. Instead, Stories includes dual 5 megapixel cameras on the temples that let you capture sterescopic video and still images. A single button on the right temple is used to start and stop 30-second video recordings, and take photos.

Image courtesy Ray-Ban, Facebook

Facebook is advertising a storage of about thirty 30-second videos or 500 photos, which is said to be kept locally encrypted on the device itself. That’s the only storage metric available to us, so there’s no word on how large that space physically is in GBs.

The frames also house microphones and integrated speakers that stream audio over Bluetooth 5.0, which will let you listen to music or podcasts, and take calls in addition to voice recognition stuff like saying “Hey Facebook, take a video.”

That Facebook Assistant integration and the Facebook View app come part an parcel with Stories, the latter of which acts as your content management platform where you can import, edit, create and share captures.

Check out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reveal Stories in the video below:

As for privacy, a capture LED on the right temple indicates when Stories are recording, and they also feature a physical off button as well on the glasses’ left strut.

Models are offered in both sunglasses versions with a variety of colors or clear lenses featuring clear with blue light filter, brown gradient, green, grey, blue polarized, and transition lenses.

A magnetic charging case also ships with Stories, although the battery situation is far from clear, both in terms of on-device runtime and added runtime with the case.

Image courtesy Ray-Ban, Facebook

Here’s a few basic specs:

  • Photo stills: 2,592 x 1,944px
  • Video camera: Minimum 1,184 x 1,184px@30fps
  • Dual micro speakers
  • 3 Microphone Audio Array
  • WIFI 802.11 Ac, 2.45/5 Ghz
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • OS Compatibility – IOS 13 / Android 8.1 Minimum
  • Charging Case – USB-C charging

Facebook seems to be playing a little fast and loose by specifically calling Stories “smart glasses.” To be fair, Stories are basically a new product segment that aim to bridge the gap between camera glasses like earlier iterations of Snap Spectacles and audio sunglasses like Bose Frames. Smarter glasses, maybe?

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Unlike augmented reality, which shows the user digital information that’s presented as if exists in reality itself (think Microsoft HoloLens, Nreal Light, Magic Leap 1), smartglasses typically present actionable information to the user via a small screen that functions as a heads-up display (HUD). Much like a smartwatch, smartglasses are supposed to provide info like text messages, biometrics, incoming phone calls, or turn-by-turn directions. Examples of smartglasses include Google Glass, North Focals, and a number of devices available from Vuzix.

If you want to learn more about smartglasses and AR, check out our primer that tackles that very issue.

This is only the first of what Facebook calls a “multi-year partnership” with Ray-Ban parent company EssilorLuxottica, so it’s likely this is only the first of what will become an evolving product segment towards smarter devices than this.

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  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Evil Zack’s Spyware par excellence.

  • kontis
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    • Jet

      Hahahahaha

  • Holdup

    Snapchat version have basic augmented reality, Snapchat is better.

    • MeowMix

      Snapchat has 2 lines of SmartGlasses – Spectacle camera glasses similar to the RayBan Stories, and the Snapchat AR Glasses.

      In terms of the former, these RayBan glasses look MUCH BETTER than the Snapchat Spectacles 3.

      • No. The “Snapchat AR Glasses” are also called Spectacles: https://www.spectacles.com/ (not sold to the general public).

        • MeowMix

          Yes, but the camera smartglasses (non-AR) are called ‘Spectacles 3’. The Ray-Ban Stories are a competitor to that

          • Spectacles 3 isn’t in the “smartglasses” category, since it’s simply a camera. This has audio, voice commands, and a touch surface for interaction, so not at all just a passive capture device even if it lacks display.

  • Geoff

    Imagine watching somebody enter their credit card pin at a cash machine or shop, or password to online banking. sneeze-tap the recording button, act casual, review like a hawk later. Not sure “almost” hidden camera’s and the public are a good mix really.

    • Corellianrogue

      But it has a little LED light that shows when it’s recording. I’m sure nobody will ever think of putting a little bit of black tape over it!

    • silvaring

      You’re not gonna get away with wearing these indoors while standing in line pal, you’ll be called out, and possibly arrested if you get caught, which will be easy with those massive camera frames on your face.

    • digitaldeity

      You do realize that you need the actual credit card if you someone managed to steal a pin. Forget that you need the actual credit card. If you’re standing in such a way where someone can see your 4 or 6 digit pin code, it doesn’t take a genius to memorize it without a recording.

    • Jistuce

      Regardless of whether the public should be allowed to have it… the cat’s been out of the bag for years on this one. Wristwatch and pen cameras are old hat. So are camera glasses, actually. Cameras and lenses are very small, and can easily be installed into a lot of non-camera casings.

  • Nothing to see here

    Handy. I need a new pair of prescription lens sunglasses. I had a pithy bit about FB leaving out 65% of the market but then Zuck metioned that prescription lenses would be available.

  • All of Facebooks behavioural psychologists in a circle jerk thinking they’ve assuaged privacy concerns because “that’s more than a phone” and that an off switch actually means off.

  • Sobieski74

    Disappointing.

    Then again, it doesn’t really matter what’s coming from Facebook AR-wise anymore, now that we’ve got a well priced AR/VR headset on the way (Lynx AR: 499$).

    • VRFriend

      Nobody cares about Lynx which you advertise for free here. Most people wait for compact AR glasses to watch virtual tv in comfort, to interact and soecialize.

      • Source Caster

        TV you say? :) I think barely anyone can imagine how AR glasses will change peoples’ daily work routines. It’s not a replacement for smartphones, not at all. It’s a replacement for PC/notebook monitor ;)

    • johnyjazz

      You may as well buy a Quest 2 now and wander around using passthrough and looking a dork than wait for the overpriced Lynx!

      • kakek

        Lynx is supposed to use high res color camera for passthrough and better hand tracking. Wich would make it much better for AR without demanding much of an effort from the dev compared to quest 2, while still offering hte same VR experience. For 50$ more than the higher quest 2 model.

        I’m not saying it’s revolutionnary, specially since it isn’t available yet, but it définitively more interresting than, say, pico-tiktok chinese inferior knockoff.

        Why the hell are you guy dissing it like that ?

  • TechnoHunter

    Not impressed with spy glasses Mr. Anderson! Not the AR glasses I am looking for.

    • dk

      well with spy glasses u can’t see the cameras or a light

  • Hivemind9000
  • kontis

    Apple will one day release AR glasses with NO cameras, only lidar (for tracking and depth) and will brag about NOT being able to capture anything.

    “if you want to take a photo, pull the phone out of your pocket. This is a socially acceptable behavior and it work perfectly. We don’t want a creepy world with sunglasses cameras everywhere.”

    Mark my words.

    • johnyjazz

      Maybe, but they will come with a $1000 price tag for the Apple logo.

      • kontis

        Yes it will be expensive. Just like iPhone is insanely expensive. Not so long ago most people had cellphones that weren’t worth more than $200.

    • GigaSora

      The lidar things a pretty good idea. Hadn’t thought of that. Or just something that’s not cameras.

    • Lucio Lima

      That’s just your opinion. I want to buy Ray-Ban Stories

    • dk

      and they will have cameras by gen 2 or 3 …because backing up your memory and making it searchable like google photos will be a huge business

    • Blaexe

      Very much doubt it. LIDAR is not “intelligent”, it doesn’t “understand” your environment and other people which is arguably a very important part of AR glasses.

      • kontis

        True that lidar is generally used in dumb way, but there is research of applying ML/CV like methods to LIDAR data.

        Anyway, maybe “NO cameras” was too bold statement. What I meant is not recording other people like a spy. Even if it has cameras they won’t be directly accessed by apps and used solely for the functioning of smartglasses.

        It’s just my theory. I think it’s the only viable way to move forward in this area, because people despise the glassholes and it’s a rational reaction.

        And Apple won’t do it because they are nice (they proved this year they don’t care about people, ask Snowden why), but because they need that PR strategy.

    • Jistuce

      Six months later, they will turn the camera modules on with a software update, and explain that it is to protect the children and that real people don’t care about cameras.

  • MasterElwood

    I love the idea of the glass. But I’ll pass because the resolution of pics/videos are WAY too low.

  • Lucio Lima

    Where to buy in Europe ???

  • Ad

    Easy way to tell if someone is scared of annoying their facebook rep: if they actually say with a straight face that these aren’t incredibly pathetic speye-glasses for doucebags.

  • ShaneMcGrath

    Why has it got Ray Ban written on the lenses?
    If I am buying glasses I don’t want anything on the glass.

  • Source Caster

    Well, what I see here is a desperate move to save Instagram since the platform is quickly dying. If you didn’t yet notice that, well, look closer. It’s a social network of bots nowadays. So, Facebook, LOL, nice try.

  • guest

    You’re going to get a lot of stories with the term “ban” in them. Just wait until they are in high schools!

    • digitaldeity

      good ole days of highschool. I remember all those teenagers wearing shades in calculus.

  • oomph2

    A big thumbs up
    Great

  • gothicvillas

    The first person who approaches me with these spy glasses will regret that!!

  • Marc-André Désilets

    Me looking at the title of the article and clicking on it just to see how kontis and Ad will use this opportunity to bash on facebook again :P

  • Marc-André Désilets

    There’s something a little scary and “black mirror”ishhh with this product. StillI think it’s a smart move. At the moment they can’t build full AR glass, the tech is not ready yet so they start experimenting with basic wearable technology. They figured out how to put camera lenses, batterie, a wireless communication protocol and microphone into a functionnal (not ugly/too bulky) pair of glass. They will learn from this product and make one with more features, and another one, and another one until they achieve fully functionnal AR glass.

    If the sound is good (looks similar to what we have on a quest2) and the mic is descent, 300$ for a pair of high-tech ray-ban is not that bad.

    As for the “facebook will control your like” I don’t want to get into that fight let just say that we already have plenty de device that we use everyday that already track and listen to pretty much everything we are doing.

  • Jim P

    So disappointed AR was a no show. I’ll pass on this one.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Kudos to FB for respecting the white elephant in the room: privacy, via the LED. It’s a good start, but what about those more than a few feet away who won’t see the LED and won’t know they’re being filmed? For me, this is alarming.

  • The style is amazing (it is ray-ban, after all), but I expected some features more

    • dk

      also 5 grams heavier than the original which is neat

  • Jetson

    So,… we now will need to sign into Facebook to protect our eyes from the sun ?!?

  • These particular AR glasses seem rather pointless and basically just for hipsters with money to burn to me.

  • xyzs

    Cool… some overpriced glasses with creepy cameras as the new Facebook backdoor…

    Pass and pass again. errrk

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Who would volunteer to let Facebook peeps into their life? The cams on Quest 2 are creepy enough.