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article imageNew scanner allows clothing shoppers to measure body dimensions

By Leigh Goessl     Nov 21, 2012 in Technology
Online clothing shoppers often have the frustration of not knowing whether or not the clothing they want to buy will fit properly. A new scanning device has been developed that is designed to alleviate that frustration.
A team of researchers in the UK has come up with a virtual solution for consumers who are unsure of what size of an item of clothing to purchase. They have developed a scanning device that they say will accurately measure body dimensions so consumers can determine what size garment to buy.
According to a press release, the project is developed by the London College of Fashion and computer vision experts at the University of Surrey, in collaboration with body-mapping specialists Bodymetrics and digital creative agency Guided. Funding is provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
How it works is the consumer downloads software that works in conjunction with a smartphone or webcam; together the technologies act as a "virtual tape measure." Through this software, shoppers can measure their hips, chest, waist or other measurements needed to accurately determine the size of the clothing item they want to purchase. Users also input their height. The program takes all the data and creates a 3D image then matches it to sizing information from retailers.
Described as "ground-breaking" in its statement, the creators allude this will revolutionize the online clothing market.
"Taking multiple measurements of the body quickly, easily and accurately, the system aims to ensure the best possible fit and so save retailers and shoppers millions of pounds a year in return postage costs, as well as eliminating the hassle involved in sending back clothes that are the wrong size or fit," according to the press release.
According to Reuters, ComScore estimated just 14 percent of overall online spending was in the clothing and accessories category in the year to June.
"The potential benefits for the fashion industry and for shoppers are huge" said Philip Delamore from London College of Fashion.
Professor Adrian Hilton from the University of Surrey says: "It’s unrealistic to expect online clothes shoppers to have the time or inclination to take a series of highly accurate body measurements of themselves. The new system makes it all very easy"
According to developers, the project should be completed and launched within two years. The full description can be read here.
The developers mention the privacy aspect [as users will be standing in their underwear] and note that the photo remains "entirely confidential and is not transmitted over the Internet in any way."
What do you think? Would you use it and buy more of your clothes online?
More about Online shopping, Body scanner, clothes shopping, online clothes shopping, body measurements
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