Warby Parker Uses Your Webcam to Sell You Glasses

Warby Parker Uses Your Webcam to Sell You Glasses

Sonia Zjawinski
May 5, 2010

These days almost all laptops come built with a webcam and a heck of a lot of monitors do as well. While the most obvious use for your integrated camera is to video chat, did you know you can order up a sweet pair of prescription glasses with your webcam as well?

*teaser: help me choose my next pair of specs after the jump!

Warby Parker is an eyewear company launched by four friends. Their goal: to provide inexpensive Rx glasses that are as cool as designer and name brands found at your local optometrist.

Warby Parker was conceived as an alternative to the overpriced and bland eyewear available today. Prescription eyewear simply should not cost $300+. The industry is controlled by a few large companies that have kept prices artificially high, reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options. By circumventing traditional channels and engaging with our customers directly through our website, Warby Parker is able to provide higher-quality, better looking prescription eyewear for under $100.

Not only are their frames only $95, but the price includes Rx lenses, free shipping, and no questions asked returns if you don't like how they translate in the real world. We know what you're thinking. Who would order glasses they can't try on? Check this out. Warby Parker's site has a virtual try-on feature that lets you either upload a photo of yourself or snap a pic right then and there with your webcam.

Match up your head so that your ears match up with the white dotted lines on the left and right, and the rest of your face fills out the screen.

Click "take a picture (make sure to look up at your webcam lens!) and if you like the snapshot click "continue." From there you can try on any pair of glasses form the collection and make slight adjustments to where the frames rest. Oh and as if all this wasn't enough, Warby Parker will donate a pair of eyeglasses to someone who needs them for every pair sold. Kind of makes you feel bad for even considering going elsewhere for your next specs!

Since I'm on the lookout for some new specs, I thought I'd give this a whirl, but I need your help. Dear Unplggd readers please vote in the below poll and/or leave comments with your two cents on what frame you think is the most flattering (don't be mean!). I'll then order up a pair based on your feedback and, once I receive the chosen pair, I'll post an update with photos of the real frames on my real face!

One last thing. The try-on app is key to even considering ordering a pair (though, the open return policy makes it even more tempting) but that said, there are a couple of ways the Warby Parker virtual optometrist could improve:

  1. I wish there was a bit more direction when snapping a photo with your webcam. More specifically, would love to know where my eyes should line up on the screen to ensure glasses that are later pasted onto the photo are put on my face correctly.
  2. One of the site's great features is a save button so you can solicit feedback on frames by emailing headshots to friends or family (just like I've done above!). An added bonus would be if the save script automatically named the file after the frame model, rather than a jumbled line of numbers. That way it would be easier to keep track of which pair won the popularity contest.

Tune in next time (2-3 weeks) when I unveil the winning pair!

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