3D Modeling And iPads Help Shoppers Try Glasses Online

3D Modeling And iPads Help Shoppers Try Glasses Online

Upcoming app creates a virtual rendering of users' faces and an augmented reality experience for spectacle-shopping.

Daniela Walker
  • 23 april 2013

Jonathan Coon, co-founder and CEO of 1-800 Contacts and its spin-off site wants to elevate online shopping beyond what he sees as an antiquated system:

Online shopping today is just a digital version of the Sears catalog from 100 years ago. The days of putting a photo of a product up on a white background with a price are over.

Although you can view glasses online, you won’t know what they look like on until you receive them. Such is the case with all online shopping, you still need a fitting room, even though it is in your house. Coon wants to remove the fitting room altogether, with the forthcoming app, 3D Fit, which allows for an augmented reality shopping experience using 3D technology to virtually fit glasses on a customer’s face.

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 9.13.28 PM

Using an iPad and the app, the user takes hundreds of pictures of their face (either with a mirror or with help from a friend) so that 15 different angles are captured and can create an accurate 3D rendering of their visage. They can then shop for glasses, placing a range of styles on their 3D self, and assess how they look from all angles. They can even virtually pull the glasses down, to see how they might look on the tip of their nose. And should they need input on which specs look best, they can send a link to their friends who receive the photo and can vote on which style they like best. will tally the votes so you can easily see the most popular pair.


Although other sites, such as Warby Parker and Ditto, offer virtual fittings, Coon believes his technology makes the experience more realistic – with every detail accounted for, even reflections and drop shadows – so it really looks as if you took a picture wearing the spectacles. You can try and shop for glasses all in the virtual world, and be confident that you will like what you receive in the mail. Says Coon:

The real story here isn’t virtual try-on of glasses. The application will be to augmented-reality shopping what ‘Toy Story’ was for computer-generated animated films. Prior to Toy Story, CG was just used in a scene — it wasn’t 100 percent of a movie. And it often wasn’t very good. Toy Story was the first 100 percent CG animated film, the first to look good and the first to achieve commercial success.

Images via Mashable

+augmented reality

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