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Scanner Sizes Up Online Clothes Shoppers

November 23, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Abdominal Imaging
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Within two years, new body-scanning software might remove one of the big drawbacks to clothes shopping online: the difficulty of getting the right fit.

Computer vision experts at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, are partnering with staffers at London College of Fashion, a body-mapping company called Bodymetrics, and a “digital creative agency” called Guided.

Adrian Hilton, DPhil, head of the university’s Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing, explained:

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.

Dr. Hilton was quoted in a university news release.

A shopper would stand in front of a camera-equipped computer or a smartphone in his or her underwear, take a photo, and type in his or her height. The software, using the height as a baseline, calculates precise measurements of various parts of the body.

It wouldn’t matter whether a size 6 from one brand is the equivalent of a size 8 from another. Each participating retailer would supply detailed information about each specific clothing item. So the software could precisely match body with garment.

Philip Delamore, director of the Fashion Digital Studio at London College of Fashion, is enthused:

The potential benefits for the fashion industry and for shoppers are huge. Currently, it’s common for online shoppers to order two or three different sizes of the same item of clothing at the same time, as they’re unsure which one will fit best.

The partners expect to bring the software to market within two years. And don’t worry; both the underwear photo and the measurements remain on the shopper’s computer or phone. They’re not transmitted online, and they’re not accessible by retailers’ Web sites.

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