As Meta faces antitrust scrutiny over its acquisition of VR fitness developers Within, the tech giant is making another acquisition. Meta confirmed to TechCrunch that it is purchasing Luxexcel, a smart eyewear company headquartered in the Netherlands. The terms of the deal, which was first reported in the Belgian paper De Tijd, have not been disclosed.
Founded in 2009, Luxexcel uses 3D printing to make prescription lenses for glasses. More recently, the company has focused its efforts on smart lenses, which can be printed with integrated technology like LCD displays and holographic film.
“We’re excited that the Luxexcel team has joined Meta, deepening the existing partnership between the two companies,” a Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch. It’s rumored that Meta and Luxexcel had already worked together on Project Aria, the company’s augmented reality (AR) research initiative.
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. By absorbing Luxexcel, 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.
When building its AR and VR products, Meta’s corporate strategy has been to acquire smaller companies that are building top technology in the field. Even Meta’s flagship headset, the Quest, comes from its acquisition of Oculus in 2014. Given the FTC’s attempts to block Meta’s purchase of Within, it’s possible that the purchase of Luxexcel could spark the same scrutiny.