Smartphones will officially become glasses in 2022, Facebook exec brashly predicts – Business Insider

facebook glasses
Facebook CEO Mark


Set your calendars for April 2022.

That’s when futuristic, “augmented reality” glasses could replace
your smartphone and become your new everyday computing

So says Michael Abrash, the chief scientist of Facebook-owned
Oculus Research, which is hard at work on both
virtual reality headsets
and augmented reality glasses. 

Abrash envisions glasses that look just like today’s regular
glasses — lightweight and stylish — but with the power
to enhance the wearer’s memory, provide instant translation of
foreign languages and signs, mute distracting nearby
conversations or sounds and even read a baby’s temperature
with a glance.

In other words, super glasses.

These aren’t virtual reality glasses that enclose the wearer in a
separate world. They super-impose virtual information into
the real world, a concept called augmented reality.

1984 redux

1984 Mac commercialApple’s famous 1984 TV commercial for
the Mac

Of course, major advances in materials science, optics and
displays still need to be realized in order for these
super glasses to be possible — and that could still
take 10 or 20 more years, Abrash explained during at talk at
Facebook’s annual developer conference on Wednesday. 

“20 or 30 years from now, I predict that instead of carrying
stylish smartphones everywhere, we’ll wear stylish glasses. Those
glasses will offer VR, AR and everything in between and we’ll use
them all day,” he said.

But the crucial milestone at which AR glasses
become good enough to be a viable mainstream product,
and a common sight on the street, might not be so far

In as little as five years, AR could have its “Macintosh
moment” Abrash said on Wednesday, referring to the famous
Apple computers released in 1984 which turned personal computers
into a mass-market phenomenon. 

“Despite all the attention focused on AR today it will be
five years at best before we’re really at the start of the ramp
to widespread, glasses-based augmented reality, before AR has its
Macintosh moment,” he said.

“Even once we’re on that ramp it will take may years to fully
realize AR’s potential, just as it took decades for human
oriented computing to mature and reach billions of people,”
he said.

Abrash is clearly trying to set expectations that the ultimate,
sci-fi like AR glasses are not around the corner. But
in declaring that the “Mac moment” could be just five years
away, Facebook is setting the schedule for what many believe
could be the next major computing platform shift.

The Mac was the first mainstream PC to feature the graphical user
interface and mouse set-up that’s now the standard way we
use computers.

There are already some AR glasses today, but they’re in the
equivalent of the PC’s pre-Mac phase. Google Glass, one of the
first high-profile attempts at computer glasses,
went down with a loud thud
because of a clunky
appearance, poor performance and a backlash over privacy

Microsoft is
working on Hololens
, which do an impressive job overlaying
holographic images onto the real world, but the bulky devices are
hardly the kind of thing people will wear about town. 



All of these early efforts are the necessary groundwork
to get to the next phase and create glasses that, in the words of
Abrash, provide “augmentation that enhances your vision and
hearing seamlessly, that makes you smarter and more capable, that
is light, comfortable, stylish, power efficient and socially
acceptable enough to accompany you everywhere you go.”

There’s no shortage of ambitious, deep-pocketed tech companies,
including Snap, Magic Leap, Google and Microsoft, racing to
become the Macintosh of glasses.

Five years is the most optimistic timeline by Abrash’s reckoning.
But with so much at stake, Facebook and Abrash can’t afford to
let someone else get their first. 

Smartphones will officially become glasses in 2022, Facebook exec brashly predicts – Business Insider