Jonathan Coon turned heads Wednesday with iPad software that lets people
try on sunglasses by manipulating 3-D images of themselves from the
The founder of discount prescription lens company 1-800
Contacts used a TED Conference known for luring the technology savvy to
introduce a service intended to let shoppers see themselves in eyewear
using smartphones, tablets or computers with cameras built into screens.
of the great ironies of glasses is that people who wear them usually
can't see themselves when they are shopping for glasses because they
need to be wearing prescription lenses," Coon said.
"For the first time, you can see yourself trying on glasses."
software, which will be released in April for iPads and spread to
iPhones, as well as Android mobile gadgets and computer Web browsers,
uses device cameras to create 3-D images of people's heads, according to
People can admire themselves in an array of lenses and
frames, using touch controls to turn virtual heads for profile views or
slide frames up or down noses. Shoppers can then have selected glasses
shipped to them.
"The vision is to try something on and shop simultaneously," Coon said.
"We used the same basic tool kit someone would use for special effects in a movie, not augmented reality stuff."
Coon was a student at Brigham Young University in the US state of Utah when he started 1-800 Contacts in a dorm room in 1992.
is a division of 1-800 Contacts, which was bought last year by US
health insurance titan Wellpoint in a deal valued in news reports at
nearly $900 million.