Ray-Ban and Facebook introduce Ray-Ban Stories, first-generation smart glasses
September 9, 2021
Today we’re excited to launch Ray-Ban Stories: Smart glasses that give you an authentic way to capture photos and video, share your adventures, and listen to music or take phone calls — so you can stay present with friends, family, and the world around you. Starting at $299 USD and available in 20 style combinations, the smart glasses are available for purchase online and in select retail stores in the US as well as Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the UK.
From daily activities like riding your bike to special milestones like your favorite music festival, Ray-Ban Stories’ dual integrated 5MP cameras let you capture life’s spontaneous moments as they happen from a unique first-person perspective. You can easily record the world as you see it, taking photos and up to 30-second videos using the capture button or hands-free with Facebook Assistant voice commands. A hard-wired capture LED lights up to let people nearby know when you’re taking a photo or video. Streamlined, open-ear speakers are built in, and Ray-Ban Stories’ three-microphone audio array delivers richer voice and sound transmission for calls and videos. Beamforming technology and a background noise suppression algorithm provide for an enhanced calling experience like you’d expect from dedicated headphones.
Ray-Ban Stories pairs with the new Facebook View app, so you can share your point of view, stories, and memories seamlessly with friends and social media followers. The Facebook View app on iOS and Android makes it easy to import, edit, and share content captured on the smart glasses to apps on your phone: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and more. You can also save content to your phone’s camera roll and edit and share from there. And new, exclusive post-capture enhancements built into Facebook View let you create unique content to put a special spin on your posts.
Ray-Ban Stories are available in 20 variations, in some of the most iconic Ray-Ban styles — Wayfarer/Wayfarer Large, Round, and Meteor — and five colors with a range of lenses including clear, sun, transition, and prescription, so you can choose the style that’s right for you.
As an all-day wearable, the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses need to be ready when you are. That’s why they come with a specially-designed portable charging case, so you can easily recharge your glasses — and keep them protected — while on the go. A fully charged case gives you an additional three consecutive days of glasses use.
Small form factor, big design challenges
With Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, miniaturization was key. EssilorLuxottica, Ray-Ban’s parent company, and Facebook worked together from concept through final design to seamlessly integrate smart technology into an iconic form factor, which was a great challenge in and of itself. We had to re-engineer components so that everything — that’s two cameras, a set of micro-speakers, a three-microphone audio array, an optimized Snapdragon® processor, a capacitive touchpad, a battery, and more — fit into the smallest possible space and the lightest possible frame. The form factor drove a lot of decisions, from speaker architecture to the camera selection.
Achieving high-quality audio was not a foregone conclusion. We used a bass reflex system, and there were early challenges in getting the speaker porting to fit into the glasses constraint. The answer came with combining great hardware with great software on top of it — and a bit of persistence.
Similarly, our 5MP cameras are able to deliver superior media experiences compared with many more powerful cameras, thanks to a lot of work under the hood on the processing pipeline. The photos and videos captured on Ray-Ban Stories are perfectly suited for sharing to your favorite app. We designed media capture to stand up to a lot of movement — from your head swiveling to take in a scene to the speed of capture from your skateboard. Optimizations from our computational photography work include HDR and Low Light Fusion, Video Stabilization, and Denoising. We also applied machine learning-enhanced tone rendering to enhance photos and videos, so they feel as authentic as the moment itself.
Launching with three models spanning different colors, materials, and finishes for our first-gen product is a huge accomplishment. Early on, there was a lot of exploration of where the charging port should go. Our solution: The arm hinges double as exposed barrels for docking into the charging case. We had to create 20 engineering validation tests (EVTs) for each model. Ultimately, we were able to standardize and templatize the glasses arms across products and designed our internal components so that they made sense from style to style.
Through design iterations, months of planning, and international collaboration between our teams at Facebook and EssilorLuxottica (in the middle of a pandemic, no less), we were able to pull it off. Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses weigh only about five grams more than the original Wayfarer design — that’s equivalent to the weight of about a teaspoon of salt.
And there are some exciting plans for the future. Keep an eye here for more details on regular software updates as we continue to improve the experience over time.
Designed with privacy in mind
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. 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.
Controls in the Facebook View app help you customize your experience—you determine things like your personal preferences for importing photos and videos and when and where you share content you capture with the glasses. The ability to control your settings and content were top concerns for people in user research we conducted on wearable technology and privacy.
By default, Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses collect data that’s needed to make your glasses work and function, like your battery status to alert you when your battery is low, your email address and password for your Facebook login to verify it’s really you when you log into the Facebook View app, and your WiFi connectivity. You can opt-in to share additional data — which includes things like the number of images you captured or how long you spend taking videos — with Facebook for product development, improvement, and personalization. This setting can be changed at any time.
The use of Facebook Assistant for voice command-powered capture is totally optional. You can view and delete your voice transcripts, and you always have the option to turn off voice storage and/or Facebook Assistant in Settings.
Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and Facebook View are ads-free experiences, so you won’t see ads when using the glasses or app. And we don’t use the content of your photos and videos for personalized ads. If you share content to any other app, that app’s terms will apply.
For added peace of mind, photos and videos are encrypted on the smart glasses. And the glasses can only be paired with one account at a time, so if you lose your Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and someone tries to pair them with a new phone and Facebook account, any data and media left on the glasses will be automatically deleted.
Building privacy features and controls isn’t enough on its own. We recognize 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. 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.
As smart glasses become a part of everyday life, we have a responsibility to help explore the big questions and establish new norms in an open, inclusive way. We can’t do it alone. And smart wearables present their own new set of policy questions around privacy and social acceptability. That’s why as we innovate responsibly, we’ve consulted with experts across academia and the privacy, safety, and civil liberties communities globally for feedback, including the Future of Privacy Forum, National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National Consumers League, LGBT Technology Partnership, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and more.
The road to AR glasses
At Facebook Reality Labs, our mission is to build tools that help people feel connected, anytime, anywhere. We see virtual and augmented reality as the next computing platform — with humans placed squarely at the center. Like today’s computers and smart phones, AR will be useful while also enabling us to transcend the physical distance between people and connect through social presence — the feeling that you’re right there with another person, no matter where in the world they happen to be.
EssilorLuxottica shares this vision for wearables that will transform the way we connect and interact with other people and the world around us. The launch of the first-generation Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses is an exciting glimpse at what’s possible when we begin to shift to devices that enhance day-to-day life, rather than distract from it.
Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses are the first product to come out of our multi-year partnership with EssilorLuxottica. Together, we’re committed to delivering innovative technology and fashion-forward style — while helping people better connect with friends and family. Visit ray-ban.com/discover-ray-ban-stories to learn more.