Meta Buys 3D Smart Glass Maker Luxexcel

Meta has acquired the Dutch 3D smart glass maker Luxexcel for an undisclosed amount of money.

Image credit: Luxexcel

Meta (formerly Facebook) has acquired the Netherlands-based 3D smart glass maker Luxexcel, as it doubles down on its Metaverse dream in 2023. Meta, however, did not disclose the sum it spent on acquiring the company.

As first reported by Belgian Newspaper DeTijd (Dutch), the Turnhout, Belgium-based company was quietly acquired by Facebook parent Meta in an ostensible bid to bolster the development of its in-development AR glasses.

Luxexcel was founded in 2009 and is best known for 3D printing to make prescription lenses for glasses. Currently, the Belgian-Dutch company focuses on developing smart lenses which can be printed with integrated technology like LCD displays and AR capabilities.

Read more: Facebook Owner Meta Unveils VR Headset

Luxexcel can integrate the elements needed to create an augmented reality (AR) experience within a prescription lens, such as holographic film and projectors, reports The Verge.

"We're excited that the Luxexcel team has joined Meta, deepening the existing partnership between the two companies," Meta said in a statement.

In September 2021, Meta unveiled the Ray-Ban Stories, a pair of smart glasses that can take photos and videos, or make hands-free, voice-controlled calls using Meta platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. Now, Meta will likely leverage the company’s technology to produce prescription AR glasses, a product that has long been anticipated to come out of Meta’s billions of dollars of investment into its Reality Labs. However, a report this summer stated that Meta was scaling back its plans for consumer-grade AR glasses, which were initially slated for 2024. Meta did not comment on these rumors at the time, reports TechCrunch.

Even as Meta works toward building its first pair of AR glasses, we may not see a finished product for some time. Andrew Bosworth, CTO & Head of Reality Labs, says Meta’s AR glasses will “require years of progress” as it attempts to make the device “slimmer, lighter, faster, and more powerful.” In June, The Verge’s Alex Heath reported that the first version of Meta’s AR glasses will only be available to developers — just like Snap’s Spectacles — while two later pairs could become available to consumers over the course of several years.

Sam Draper
January 6, 2023

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