The Digital Dressing Room

19 March, 2012 at 07:07 | Posted in Society, Technology | Leave a comment
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New online software brings the dressing room into your living room

By Sarita Rosenhaus
Epoch Times Staff

You coveted those adorable jeans on the website for so long, yet you can’t tell if they’re going to fit you. Wouldn’t it be great if you could try them on before buying them? The Berlin-based company UPcload says that now you can.

Initiating a new era of e-fashion, the UPcload passport allows users to create an online profile of their dimensions and styling preferences, ensuring that “clothing items bought online fit ‘offline,’” according to the company’s press kit.

Using a webcam and an ordinary CD, the photo-recognition software determines the customer’s sizing and dimensions without requiring any fancy scanning equipment. Best of all, creating the passport takes 10 minutes and only needs to be done once.

The company says that this deceptively simple body-measuring system will give a perfect fit each time, no matter what the brand, eliminating the hassle of returns by taking the guesswork out of sizing. The customer’s profile acts as the “passport” to participating online retailers, which offer recommendations based on the measurements.

It will also allow consumers to buy clothes for family and friends, see a visualization of the buyer wearing the items through the Dutch program MimicMe, and even help determine which items go together.

Two friends and graduates of Berlin’s Humboldt University—Asaf Moses, a 29-year-old Israeli, and Sebastian Schulze, 25, who is German—developed the idea in January 2010 after they discovered their mutual frustration from buying poorly fitting merchandise online and not being able to return it.

UPcload, a blend of the words “upload” and “clothes,” has since been voted start-up of the year and has won over $200,000 in prize money and government grants, according to a press release.

The technology behind the company is anything but simple. Developed for the military and semiconductor industries by the Israeli company Imagu, the image-analysis algorithms hone in on images at the subpixel level, which is more precise than standard object-recognition software, giving measurements that “are on average more accurate than those taken by a professional tailor,” Moses told BusinessWeek.

Launching next month, UPcload has already partnered with The North Face and has plans to expand to other stores and markets, like shoes.

Retailers that choose to use the software carry a widget on their sites, linking them to UPcload’s confidential database. Users will be able to log in to the UPcload box on the retailer’s website and will then be told whether the items they are considering are likely to fit. For example, if UPcload knows the buyer has a 34-inch waist and likes loose-fitting pants, it will know to suggest that the jeans would be too snug for that person’s taste.

If that’s not enough, Moses and Schulze are not just tackling the Internet—up next, they will be sending body measurements via mobile devices like smartphones. This innovation will help shoppers avoid taking multiple items to the changing room. Instead, they can scan the bar code to know which items will fit best.

Of course, many shoppers will still want to see, feel, and try on their clothes in person, but UPcload is banking on it that many may increasingly venture into online shopping when there’s less risk involved.

According to a press release, 40 percent of online clothing purchases wind up as returns. UPcload hopes to bring that number down and increase clothing sales, a very promising prospect for companies and customers who are willing to try it on for size.

via The Digital Dressing Room | Fashion & Beauty | Life | Epoch Times

Related Articles: GRAPHISOFT: Visualizing Data Into 3-D Models

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