December 9, 2022

Sapiensdigital

Sapiens Digital

Meta stops development of the ‘Facebook smartwatch’ but will use its brain-reading tech in other products

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 (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Meta has reportedly stopped the development of its upcoming smartwatch.

The wearable, which would have two cameras, is said to have been in development for two years. Like many other smart watches, it would have activity tracking and music playback, but would also be linked to Meta’s messaging platforms.

Unlike other wearables, this smartwatch would have had dual cameras – setting it apart from competitors like the Apple Watch or Google’s upcoming Pixel Watch. One would have been located below the display, while another would be on the wrist so users could remove the watch to take pictures as well as being used to read nerve signals into digital commands.

The watch was originally going to be released in spring 2023, priced at approximately $349. It is unclear why Meta pulled the device. The company declined to comment.

This technology is known as electromyography and is a key aim for Meta as it develops its virtual reality headsets and surrounding metaverse products according to Bloomberg. The sensors could be used to control avatars in the metaverse or interact with a user interface laid over augmented reality glasses.

Although this product is being halted, the technology will be used in other devices as multiple wrist-worn wearables are in development.

In an interview with Stratechery’s Ben Thompson, Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg said that “one of the killer use cases” will be allowing people to message while talking to others using muscle sensors in the wrist.

“I do think that for augmented reality, for example, one of the killer use cases is basically going to be you’re going to have glasses and you’re going to have something like [muscle-sensing technology] EMG on your wrist and you’re going to be able to have a message thread going on when you’re in the middle of a meeting or doing something else and no one else is even going to notice”, he continued.

It is thought that Meta will continue on this path for future development, as opposed to computer-brain interfaces being developed by other companies.

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