• Apple is working on augmented reality glasses
  • Facebook is also working on its own offering
  • The social media giant wants its smartglasses to replace smartphones

Everybody knows by now that Apple is working on a sleek pair of augmented reality glasses meant to be used on a daily basis. A new report indicates that Facebook is also working on its offering, and is racing to create the best AR smart glasses for consumers.

Previous reports indicated that Cupertino tech giant Apple is working on augmented reality head mounted devices for release in the near future. One of these is a headset that is expected to hit the shelves on 2022. The other is a pair of smart glasses that are sleeker and more comfortable to wear than headsets, which are notably bulkier and heavier. This is expected to arrive in 2023.

Apple has been working to acquire all that it needs to create the said smart glasses. These includes winning patents and scoring deals with other companies. One particular deal that it tried to close, but failed, is a deal with MicroLED display maker Plessey, Patently Apple noted. Cupertino went on to invest in a Taiwan-based plant that will make microLED displays for its devices.

Social media giant Facebook, on the other hand, was able to score a deal with Plessey for its AR smartglasses. The deal gives Facebook license to use the company's AR tech and production facilities for “several” years.

Facebook said it is planning on creating a “glass form factor” device that will replace other devices so that users can focus more on “friends, families and surroundings.” In other words, it plans to create AR smartglasses with enough capability to replace smartphones and tablets, which take people's attention away from interacting with others.

Patently Apple noted that Facebook currently has some patents directly related to its upcoming smartglasses, which is coming at an unknown date. One of these patents is for techniques and methods for range and depth sensing, which will be used for imaging objects. Another is for an audio system for smartglasses.

The first patent describes how the HMD, or the smartglasses, will be able to determine the distance between the wearer and the objects in view. It talks about several methods, which can include the use of two cameras, or a Time-of-Flight sensor.

The second patent describes an audio system that actively monitors the sounds that the device transmits to the wearer's ears via use of an optical microphone, then adjusts “audio instruction” based on what the microphone measures.

Facebook smartglasses
An illustration of Facebook's patented optical microphone for eyewear devices. Facebook/USPTO