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Richard Newcombe - Director, Research Science Reality Labs Research

Introducing
Project Aria

Introducing Project Aria

With Project Aria, we are building towards a future where our devices disappear into the flow of everyday life, enhance the world around us as we go, and render our devices more human in design and interactivity.

Project Aria is a research device that is worn like regular glasses and will help us build the software — including a live map of 3D spaces — and hardware necessary for future AR devices. Sensors on the Project Aria research device will capture the wearer’s video and audio, as well as their eye tracking and location information. The glasses’ on-device computing power will then be used to encrypt and store information that, when uploaded to separate, designated back-end storage space, will help our researchers figure out how AR can work in the real world.

Learn more about the projectRead about our latest updates

Livemaps: Project Aria Applied

Our future AR devices must be more perceptive in order to be more genuinely useful to us. In order for devices to understand where they are in relation to people and other objects, and how to make sense of any given situation, they need a virtual 3D map of the things around you. But it’s far too power-intensive to scan and reconstruct a space in real time from scratch, so AR glasses will need to tap into an existing 3D map we call LiveMaps.

LiveMaps uses computer vision to construct a virtual representation of the parts of the world that are relevant to you. With these 3D maps, our future devices will be able to efficiently see, analyze, and understand the world around them and better serve those who use them. These devices will keep track of changes, like new street names, and update them in real-time. The Project Aria device is testing out how this can work in practice.

Image of LiveMaps

Project Aria Glasses

The goal of Project Aria is learning in a safe and secure environment. Project Aria glasses will be made available to about 3,000 Facebook employees and contractors, as well as external, paid research participants, that will be trained on when and where to use the device. We’ll be asking people of diverse backgrounds to participate in the program to create an accurate and varied view of the world.

Project Aria glasses are not a consumer product, nor are they an AR glasses prototype. The glasses do not include a display and research participants cannot directly view video or listen to audio captured by the device, but participants can view low-resolution thumbnails via a companion app installed on their phone for the purpose of deleting segments of data. We’ll use encryption to store the data on the Aria device and a secure ingestion system to upload data from the research devices to Facebook’s separate, designated back-end storage space

Accelerating research with the Project Aria Pilot Dataset

The Aria Pilot Dataset provides researchers in computer vision access to anonymized Aria data, captured in a variety of scenarios, such as cooking, playing games, and hiking outdoors.

We believe this dataset will provide a baseline for external researchers to build and foster reproducible research on egocentric Computer Vision and AI/ML algorithms for scene perception, reconstruction and understanding.

Learn more about the Project Aria Pilot Dataset
Project Aria Pilot Dataset download

Aria Research Kit

For the broader research community we are offering a kit that includes the tools, services, and documentation needed to conduct independent studies to help shape the future of augmented reality.

Approved applicants will receive an Aria Research Kit that includes access to:

  • Aria Glasses
  • Aria Web Portal
  • Aria Companion App
  • Aria Desktop App
  • Aria Device SDK
  • Aria Data Tools
Apply here to receive an Aria Research Kit
Project Aria Pilot Dataset download

Research Partnerships

To better understand how this technology can benefit people with varying physical abilities, in 2020 we started a pilot program with Carnegie Mellon University’s Cognitive Assistance Laboratory to build 3D maps of museums and airports that will have multiple applications, including helping people with visual impairments better navigate their surroundings.

AR technology can enhance how people learn, work, play, and explore. From providing intuitive navigation support and, enabling people to share space with a lifelike avatar of a sister or a parent who lives in another country, to enhancing worker training, people from all walks of life could use AR in different and significant ways. This endeavor is ambitious, so we’re looking to partners from all over the world to help us learn through application.

In 2021, we’re expanding the partner program and making glasses available to the National University of Singapore, as well as other university partners in the future, so they can advance their own egocentric perception research.

We’re also proud to announce our first industry partnership with BMW. We think that AR glasses could eventually help drivers navigate their surroundings. Before we can get there, partners like BMW are interested in exploring how AR technology could integrate into tomorrow’s vehicles. This partnership will also help our researchers explore how AR glasses, which will rely on visual cues to identify their location, can situate themselves in a moving car.

Image of a Project Aria participant in public wearing distinct clothing that identifies them as a member of this research project.

Our Commitment

We are committed to establishing best practices, transparently uncovering roadblocks, ensuring people have visibility into what information is being captured, and having processes to protect the information that is recorded. Participants will only record in either Facebook offices, wearers’ private homes (with consent from all members of the household), or public spaces, and won’t record in private venues without written consent from such places. Before any information gathered in a public place is made available to our researchers, it will be automatically scrubbed to blur faces and vehicle license plates.

AR devices and experiences will eventually enable deep connections between people and the things that matter most to them, providing more utility and information while decreasing the time spent looking down at various devices. Our approach to building an AR ecosystem will always put people before opportunity. It’s why we’ve created four key principles for responsible innovation that will keep us committed and guide us through uncharted landscapes. Designing technology that’s transparent, meaningful, considerate, and above all, human.

View privacy policy (Updated May 2022)View principles of responsible innovation

Frequently Asked Questions

We want individuals who encounter a Project Aria participant in public to understand that the participant is collecting data, so to start, research participants will wear distinct clothing that identifies them as a member of this research project, including a white vest in the UK and t-shirt in other countries, lanyard, and flyer with QR codes and URLs directing anyone who is interested to a website for more information. When the device is collecting data, it’ll display a white light to let people know it’s recording. We’ll continue to evaluate our policies and the indicators we provide to help make sure we’re respecting people’s privacy and being transparent about what Project Aria is and what the research device does.

Since the initial launch of Project Aria in September 2020, we have gradually expanded in-public data collection to locations beyond the U.S.

As we announced in September 2021, some Facebook employees and contractors have started in-public data capture in a handful of public landmarks in Singapore.

Additionally, in 2021, some employees and contractors based in the UK, EU, Switzerland, Singapore, Canada and Israel captured data in their own homes with agreement from all members of the household.

And starting in 2022, a dozen or so Meta employees based in England and Ireland began to capture data in public places in those countries.

Last updated: May 2022

Data gathered in public places will be scrubbed to blur faces and vehicle license plates. Participants will be wearing highly visible and clear communication on vests or t-shirts, lanyards, and flyers noting that recording is in progress and providing a QR code and URL for bystanders to learn more about the research project and privacy policies. We’re also instructing all Project Aria research participants to comply with any requests from people in the near vicinity that they stop recording and/or delete relevant data. Participants can stop recording data at any time with the push of a button, and they can identify and delete recorded data segments, without viewing the raw data, by selecting the timestamp on a companion app installed on their smartphones. Finally, all research participants will first undergo training to learn where and when they should collect data and where it is not appropriate to record, such as in restrooms, prayer rooms, locker rooms, and in sensitive meetings and other private situations.

Recorded data is temporarily stored on the Project Aria device and periodically uploaded to Facebook’s servers, where it is kept in quarantine for 72 hours before being transferred to separate back-end storage. The only exceptions to the quarantine period are when data is captured within fully consented environments with only Meta employees and contractors present who have consented to such capture.

We take extra measures to help keep the data we collect secure. The data on the device is encrypted and cannot be accessed by anyone. We also use a secure ingestion system to upload the data from the Project Aria device to separate, designated back-end storage systems.

Last Updated: May 2022

The device does not use facial recognition identification technology, and we do not connect information about bystanders captured using the research device’s sensors to their Facebook accounts. In any case, the glasses do not display any information on the inside of the lens, and research participants cannot access the raw data captured by the device.

No. Project Aria is a research project intended to help us understand what hardware and software are needed to build AR glasses.

We are hoping to collect sufficient and high-enough quality egocentric data to help us understand the hardware and software needed to build real, working AR glasses.

In this research phase, all of the data we collect is stored on separate back-end servers. We have controls in place to help ensure that data is only accessed by authorized researchers who require access to fulfill necessary responsibilities. We’re committed to keeping this information secure.

The Project Aria glasses are not a consumer product nor are they a prototype, and they will not be for sale. They won’t display any information on the inside of the lens, and research participants cannot view or listen to the raw data captured by the device. As a research device, the research glasses are meant to help us understand the hardware and software needed to build AR Glasses.

The initial batch of research participants was limited to about one hundred Facebook employees and contractors, primarily located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.

As we announced in September 2021, some Facebook employees and contractors have started in-public data capture in other locations across the U.S. and in a handful of public landmarks in Singapore.

Additionally, in 2021, some employees and contractors based in the UK, EU, Switzerland, Singapore, Canada and Israel captured data in their own homes with agreement from all members of the household.

In November 2021, we opened up participation in the countries where we were already collecting data to a wider group of Facebook employees and contractors, external, paid research participants, and partners. In total, we will have about 4000 devices in use worldwide.

And in 2022, a dozen or so Meta employees based in England and Ireland began to capture data in public places in those countries.

Last updated: May 2022

Facebook employees can choose to participate in the program if they are interested. As always, non-participants have the right to ask that recording stop if they are not comfortable and have the ability to ask that the relevant data is deleted. All research participants will be provided with rigorous training so they are mindful of recording restrictions.

Industry and academic partners alike are required to abide by our Project Aria Research Community Guidelines. These guidelines are a set of requirements and best practices that mirror Facebook's own Project Aria privacy requirements (e.g. ensuring it is clear to bystanders that recording is taking place and blurring personally identifiable information such as faces and license plates). Adherence to these guidelines is necessary, as they ensure that any research done with Project Aria meets its privacy and safety requirements.

In addition to abiding by our Community Guidelines, each university partner will be responsible for complying with standards from institutional research ethics committees or review boards.

Our intention is for partners to store and manage this data themselves. However, partners will have the option to use Meta’s infrastructure for blurring and other data processing, before using it. Meta won’t use this data unless the partner agrees to let Meta use it.