X

Project Aria | Image courtesy Meta

Meta Reportedly Set to Unveil Prototype AR Glasses ‘Orion’ at Connect 2024

    Categories: NewsXR Industry News

Along its quest to own a sizeable chunk of the XR space, Meta may be getting ready to show off some of its prototype AR hardware at the company’s upcoming Connect developer conference later this year, which up until now has been tightly under wraps.

A report from Business Insider maintains Meta’s AR team has been tapped to get its ‘Orion’ AR glasses ready to unveil at Connect 2024, which typically happens in October. The report cites two people familiar with the matter, whose identities were confirmed by Business Insider.

Orion has been under development for the past nine years, however there is allegedly now “internal pressure to ensure a high level of performance” at Connect, which the company regularly uses to not only unveil new products, such as Quest 3, but also research projects and prototypes such as Project Aria, which when unveiled in 2020 showed off a bevy of sensors the company was using to train its AR perception systems and assess public perception of the technology.

Project Aria | Image courtesy Meta

It’s uncertain if Orion and Project Nazare, are one in the same, which Meta teased back in 2021, saying it would be the company’s “first full augmented reality glasses.” Back then, Meta CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg outlined just how difficult it would be:

“There’s a lot of technical work to get this form-factor and experience right. We have to fit hologram displays, projectors, batteries, radios, custom silicon chips, cameras, speakers, sensors to map the world around you and more into glasses that are about 5mm thick. So we still have a ways to go with Nazare, but we’re making good progress,” Zuckerberg said.

Speaking to The Verge late last year, Meta CTO and Reality Labs Chief Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth described the company’s AR glasses as having been built on a “prohibitively expensive technology path.”

Notably, these are set to be ‘true’ AR glasses, and not HUD-based smartglasses like Google Glass, or a mixed reality headset, such as the company’s Quest line. Find out more about the difference between AR and smartglasses in our handy primer.

According to Business Insider, it’s expected that a consumer version of the AR glasses won’t be ready for a number of years, as previous reports maintain it could come as soon as 2027.