With its acquisition of Luxexcel, a Dutch business specializing in 3D-printing prescription lenses for smart glasses, Meta injects more cash into the metaverse. De Tijd, a Dutch publication, broke the story first (via TechCrunch).
We’re excited that the Luxexcel team has joined Meta, deepening the existing partnership between the two companies.”
The financial details of the agreement are unknown, but Meta’s CTO and head of Reality Labs, Andrew Bosworth, disclosed in a blog post earlier this month that the company is investing “about half” of operating costs for its metaverse-focused division in augmented reality (AR), with the other half going toward developing virtual reality products (VR), despite its continuing billion-dollar losses.
The 2009-founded company Luxexcel claims to be able to incorporate projectors and holographic film, among other components, into a prescription lens to provide an augmented reality experience. It collaborated with WaveOptics in 2021 to develop a lens with waveguides, or the transparent display technology required to superimpose virtual items on a user’s real-life surroundings. WaveOptics is the firm that makes the displays for Snap’s Spectacles.
In September 2021, Meta introduced the Ray-Ban Stories, a set of smart glasses that allow users to conduct hands-free, voice-controlled conversations on Facebook and WhatsApp while also taking pictures and videos. Meta will likely use Luxexcel’s technology after acquiring it to create prescription augmented reality glasses, a product that has long been predicted to result from Meta’s billion-dollar investment in its Reality Labs. Though consumer-grade AR glasses were previously expected to be available in 2024, a report this summer claimed that Meta was delaying those plans. At the time, Meta chose not to address these rumors.
We may have to wait a while before seeing the full result, even as Meta attempts to create its first augmented reality glasses. Bosworth claims that in order to develop Meta’s AR glasses “slimmer, lighter, faster, and more powerful,” it would “require years of progress.”