philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Facebook, Apple and Niantic Bet People Are Ready for Augmented-Reality Glasses

Facebook last month said it is working on AR glasses in tandem with sensor-packed wristbands that can detect finger movements, part of a broader push in researching the development of software and hardware to support the eyewear.

John Hanke last week posted a tweet touting progress on its planned AR glasses, which it is making in partnership with chip maker Qualcomm Inc.

Other companies are guarding their plans. Apple is working on an AR headset for consumers, which analysts expect to hit the market as soon as next year, and has plans for AR glasses to follow. Analysts also say SnapInc., SNAP +5.50% which already sells camera-equipped sunglasses it calls Spectacles, is developing consumer AR glasses, and thatAlphabet Inc.’s Google, which entered the space in 2013 with Google Glass before focusing on sales to business customers, is likely to try a consumer play again.

“A lot of the magic in AR is going to come from the device knowing your place in the world,” Mr. Hanke said.

Another challenge for companies making AR glasses is dealing with issues such as user privacy and security. Facebook is soliciting feedback from tech experts, regulators and consumers on this front, Mr. Bosworth said. For example, he said it will be important to consider how people might feel talking to or just walking past someone wearing AR glasses.

“These things are going to have always-on cameras, always-on microphones,” Mr. Bosworth said. “This really is a technology that demands a public conversation about what the capabilities are going to be, what’s acceptable and not.”

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