Zuckerberg says holographic AR glasses are coming

A person wearing the Ray-Ban Meta smartglasses, taking a photo.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

In a recent interview, Mark Zuckerberg shared his thoughts and Meta’s plans for holographic AR glasses. The end goal is a device that can completely replace your phone with a spatial interface that keeps your head up and hands-free, while still providing access to all the information you need.

Zuckerberg said he anticipates three basic models of smart glasses becoming standard gear for daily use. The first is already available — audio and camera glasses with integrated AI capabilities. The $300 Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses fall into this category. The next step up could add a small heads-up display (HUD).

The smart glasses with a HUD would let you see notifications, take and reply to messages, and interact with AI with a display, so you can continue to page through a longer reply at your own pace.

Of course, the most exciting is AR glasses with a full holographic view that lets you interact with friends anywhere in the world as if they’re in your own room. In the 40-minute interview with YouTuber Kallaway, Zuckerberg gave an example of chatting with a friend, each wearing future Meta AR glasses.

If you want to play cards, you can use a virtual deck. Anyone in the AR call can see the cards, pick them up, and play as if they were real. You can also work together, play games, and create art with one another on a canvas. The possibilities are limitless.

This isn’t a new concept, but it’s tantalizing to hear that Meta is actively working on this future and is prototyping products that can do this now. If you’ve ever joined a multiplayer VR game with a Meta Quest 3 where you fight zombies, play a board game, or draw on a whiteboard, you’ve already experienced the potential.

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What makes holographic AR glasses exciting is that it happens in a pair of lightweight glasses that you can wear for hours without disconnecting from reality.

Eventually, AR glasses will have eye- and hand-tracking, but the first versions might rely on a controller. To keep your hands free, Meta is developing a neural wristband to pick up your hand and finger movement.

That means you’ll be able to operate virtual controls, type words on a virtual keyboard, and interact with spatial objects, like the playing cards mentioned above.

If you were hoping for Meta AR glasses this year, that’s not likely. However, the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses are a good starting point, and you might even be able to order the style you want soon. Zuckerberg said strong demand has led to many colors and frames selling out quickly. The classic black Wayfarers are your best bet currently, but Meta keeps ramping up production, so you might be able to buy those caramel transparent Headliner frames with teal blue lenses you’ve had your eye on.

To be clear, Zuckerberg doesn’t think glasses are replacing your phone anytime soon, suggesting we might still be using phones 10 years from now. However, they’ll be used less and less as AR glasses technology improves.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses have several new styles, including Skyler and Scuderia Ferrari.
Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses have several new styles, including Skyler and Scuderia Ferrari. Meta

I agree. My wife and I reach for our Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses anytime we’re going out since they provide photo and video capabilities that rival flagship phones and are always ready for a quick shot without needing to haul a big phone out of a pants pocket.

Zuckerberg said Meta was almost ready to show a prototype of its first AR glasses, but they won’t be selling them broadly. They want to have an affordable, high-quality product before manufacturing at scale.

I know one thing for sure: I’m eager for Meta’s AR glasses and will be first in line when they arrive.