Meta is doing its best to accelerate the development of its augmented reality glasses. To give a boost to the project, the Californian giant bought a Dutch company that manufactures lenses using 3D printing.
Meta has just acquired Luxexcel, a company based in the Netherlands. The Silicon Valley giant has confirmed the news to our colleagues at TechCrunch. It is not known how much Meta paid to get their hands on the company, which also has premises in Belgium and the United States. The Belgian media evoke a high price.
Founded in 2019, the Belgian-Dutch company specializes in manufacturing prescription lenses for glasses with 3D printing. The company also focuses on the design 3D smart lenses. These lenses are equipped with a screen-like display system. For example, Luxexcel participated in the creation of lenses Snapchat Spectacular Glasses.
“We are delighted that the Luxexcel team has joined Meta, deepening the existing partnership between the two companies”says a spokesperson for Meta.
According to The Brussels TimesMeta a already collaborated with Luxexcel in the past. The Dutch company would have participated in the Aria project. The initiative aims to develop a pair of glasses tailored for augmented reality.
2024 target for Meta
Unsurprisingly, the acquisition of Luxexcel will enable Meta toaccelerate the development of its first augmented reality glasses. The Aria project, essential to Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse, encountered a myriad of obstacles last year. Forced to reduce costs, Meta preferred draw a line under the first version of the accessory, considered too expensive. The firm is now focusing on a pair of consumer-oriented glasses for a release scheduled for 2024.
As Andrew Bosworth, president of virtual reality and augmented reality at Meta, explains, the company is far from having slowed down. In a blog post summarizing the year 2022, he recalls all the advantages of this technology:
“It’s clear that mixed reality will help virtual reality devices become increasingly compelling alternatives to laptops and desktops.”.
Consumer AR glasses
To develop the AR glasses, Meta also approached Ray Ban, a long-time partner. The two companies aim to design the most discreet pair of AR glasses possible. With this accessory, which aims to be identical to classic glasses, Meta seeks to encourage adoption by the general public.
The emergence of consumer AR glasses is expected to give a big boost to the mixed reality market. According to a report by CSS Insight experts, the market will start to take off from 2024, following the commercialization of AR glasses. From 2026, glasses will represent a significant part of the accessories dedicated to mixed reality in circulation in the world.
“Our vision of true augmented reality glasses will require years of progress to make our devices thinner, lighter, faster and more powerful, while consuming far less power and generating far less heat”admits Andrew Bosworth, aware of the challenges facing Meta.
Despite the economic slowdown and disastrous financial results, Meta’s buying spree continues unabated. Previously, the Californian giant notably got its hands on Within Unlimiteda start-up specializing in virtual reality, to accelerate the development of its metaverse.
The group’s strategy quickly raised concerns from regulators. Believing that Meta seeks to stifle competition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the American Competition Authority, filed a complaint. The regulator says Meta wants to dominate the virtual reality market, and demands the abandonment of redemption. In the past, Mark Zuckerberg’s group also bought the music game BeatSaber and the start-up Oculus. Thanks to this latest acquisition, Meta was able to market a range of VR headsets, including the Quest 2, the best-selling accessory in the virtual reality market.
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