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As it works toward its goal of creating AR glasses, Meta buys smart lens manufacturer Luxexcel

By purchasing Luxexcel, a Dutch firm that focuses on 3D-printing prescription lenses for smart glasses, Meta is effectively putting more cash into the metaverse. Dutch news site De Tijd broke the story, but Meta has subsequently confirmed the acquisition.

Meta’s director of finance communications, Ryan Moore, has released a statement saying the business is “thrilled” that the Luxexcel team has joined Meta, further strengthening the existing cooperation between the two companies. In a blog post earlier this month, Meta CTO and Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth revealed that “about half” of the metaverse-focused division’s operating expenses are being poured into augmented reality (AR), while the other half is going to building virtual reality (VR) products, despite the company losing billions of dollars every year.

Founded in 2009, Luxexcel claims it can include augmented reality components like holographic film and projectors into a prescription lens. In 2021, it collaborated with Snap’s display provider WaveOptics to develop a waveguide-equipped lens for the Spectacles, allowing users to see augmented reality content overlaid on their surroundings.

The initial generation of Meta’s augmented reality glasses is still in the works, so we may have to wait a while before they hit the market. Bosworth adds that in order to create Meta’s AR glasses “slimmer, lighter, quicker, and more powerful,” the company would need “years of growth.” According to a June story by The Verge’s Alex Heath, the initial iteration of Meta’s augmented reality glasses would only be accessible to developers, much like Snap’s Spectacles, while two subsequent pairs might become available to customers over the course of many years.