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Topology lets you try before you buy glasses using AR in an app

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Topology Eyewear is an augmented reality app providing custom-fit glasses from a 3D scan of your face.

Most glasses are mass manufactured to fit a supposedly symmetric head. The problem is, most of us are not that symmetrical. The Topology app, available on iOS, uses face-scanning technology to take into account ears that might reach farther back or sit uneven, a wider or thinner nose and other facial factors that can make most glasses not fit as well as they should.

Serial entrepreneur and founder Eric Varady thought up the idea when he was out shopping for a pair that would fit his face in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood. He was looking at a really expensive pair of frames that still didn’t fit the way he wanted them to when he realized he could create an easier solution from the comfort of home.

Of course, there are already several options to shopping for glasses from home. Warby Parker dominates the market here with a platform allowing consumers to choose a variety of glasses it will ship anywhere and allow you to physically try on before buying.

Rather than shipping myriad glasses your way, Topology lets you see what you’d look like in a variety of frame styles and colors using augmented reality. But, as mentioned above, the real secret sauce is in the custom fit through an ear-to-ear 3D scan of your face.

It works by first taking a video selfie through the Topology app that aims to perfectly capture your facial measurements and then create custom-made glasses without the hassle of bridge slippage or uneven frames. From there you can try on any number of glasses and adjust the lenses for height, width and a number of other features to get the look and fit you want.

The price isn’t cheap for all that, however. Each pair of Topology glasses start at $495 and go upward to $800, depending on the add-ons. Compare that price to Warby Parker prescription glasses, which start at $95, or the average pair of manufactured glasses, which usually come out to $150 to $400, according to an optical labs consumer report.

Varady is betting consumers will be willing to pay the higher price to get an easy remote order with that custom fit.

“Yes, we’re expensive, but really we’re going after the sect in the market that’s already spending that much or more on glasses and lenses combined,” he told TechCrunch. “No one’s ever had custom before and they fit you incredibly well.”

Topology just launched in July and says it has already had orders in the “low hundreds.” It’s now starting up a digital marketing campaign to increase those orders and awareness of the product and has taken in about $4 million in initial seed capital from the founder of OPI nail polish, George Schaeffer, to help it grow.

I tested it out for myself and found the app made for an interesting use of augmented reality software and came with a high amount of frame styles from which to choose. I particularly liked the feature that let you play with lens height and length.

As for how well it fits? You’ll have to be the judge of that for your own face.

You can check out how Topology works in the video below or download and test its tech yourself on the app.

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