Warby Parker adds AR to its app

The new function gives customers the ability to try on frames from the online-first eyewear retailer.

Warby Parker is giving customers a new way to decide which of its glasses are the right fit for them.

In the most recent update to its iOS app, the eyewear brand has added an AR-powered try-on feature, giving users a photo-realistic way to preview how any of the eyewear brand’s frames look on their face, without visiting a store. It is also integrated with social networks, giving users the ability to share a photo and get feedback from friends and family.

The app is powered by ARKit – a development kit that facilitates more advanced augmented reality functions through more accurate measurements of size and distance – as well as Apple’s “True Depth” camera, which uses a number of different sensors to provide those measurements. The new try-on function is currently only available on the iOS version of the app, and there’s no word if or when a version powered by Android’s own ARCore development kit will be available.

While Warby Parker got its start as an online-only brand, desire from consumers to try before they buy without having to wait for frames to be shipped has been one of the reasons for establishing and expanding a physical retail presence. However, with only three locations currently open in Canada, the app update gives customers outside of Toronto or Vancouver the chance to get a more accurate idea of what Warby Parker glasses might look like before committing to a purchase.

When Apple’s iPhone X launched, it used the True Depth camera’s face-mapping capabilities – most commonly used for Face ID security features – to scan a user and only recommend frames that would fit their face, although it did not actually show users what they might look like while wearing them.