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Tech Specs: Smart glasses are back and I have...questions

In today’s episode of ‘We’re Living in Black Mirror’, Facebook have released Ray-Ban Stories.

If this concept looks and sounds familiar that’s because it is.

So if - like me - you are unsure how we got back here, allow me to take you on a journey.

1. What happened to the other smart glasses?

2. How do Ray-Ban Stories work?

Andrew Bosworth, the Facebook executive who heads up Reality Labs, said the glasses were “designed to help people live in the moment”. So whether you’re riding a bike or moshing at a music festival, the glasses’ 5 megapixel camera lets you capture life’s spontaneous moments from a first-person perspective. Everything you capture can then sync straight up to your phone to be shared.

3. Wait, so are they sunglasses? Prescription lenses? Or both?

From what I’ve read, Ray-Ban Stories will be sold “anywhere Ray-Bans are sold” including Sunglass Hut and OPSM. It also says that prescription lenses will also be available. Does this mean you only use them in summer, like sunglasses? Or can you wear them all day? I’m pretty sure the law states that only Bono is allowed to wear sunglasses inside but I will check my notes.

4. What age group are they marketing these glasses to?

I’m no Gen Z - but I can’t remember the last time I saw ANYONE under the age of 30 wearing a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. We live in the age of online commerce where there are literally thousands of cooler/more relevant sunglass brands out there. Why Facebook would model their cutting-edge tech off the same design worn by sunburnt British backpackers circa 2006 is beyond me.

5. Did we resolve the whole privacy thing? And if so, why does all the marketing material look straight out of 1984?

For a company like Facebook who have a complicated relationship with user privacy (to say the least), I can’t quite figure out why their comms are looking so...Orwellian. But hey! Who am I to question the Zuck? In response to the privacy backlash sparked by Google Glass - Facebook insists that when it comes to Ray-Ban Stories “privacy is baked directly into the design”. There are a list of features such as a power switch to deactivate the camera and microphone at any time, as well as an LED light that shines whenever the user is taking photos or videos to notify people nearby.

Well - consider me convinced! Brb buying a pair as we speak.

Hannah Payton




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