Bodymetrics, a London-based company with a thing for body scanning, has teamed up with PrimeSense, who you may know from their work with the Kinect, to create a full, 3D body scanner that could have a serious impact on online clothes shopping. The pilot scanner, equipped with 8 PrimeSense 3D cameras, can look its occupant up and down, recording all kinds of information about body size and measurements. After the scanner has collected all that juicy data, the user can upload it to the web where it can be used to aid in clothes shopping.
The pilot model has been deployed at the New Look store in Westfield Stratford shopping complex where it will be used mainly to help ladies find wonderfully shapely jeans, an endeavor I whole-heartedly support. The scanner can take up to 100 measurements, which are then used to figure out what jeans are right for them. Of course, whether or not this fad really catches on depends on how widely scanner units get deployed and how many retailers support the functionality. Bodymetrics seems optimistic about both.
According to their press release, the Bodymetric scanner stands a chance because it is way cheaper than any other device of its kind. Previous scanning technologies generally relied on expensive technologies with a lot of moving parts, which makes for a huge maintenance cost. The use of the PrimeSense cameras should solve that problem. When it comes to stores getting involved, Bodymetrics says that 20-40% of all online clothes purchases are returned due to fitting issues, and what retailer wouldn’t want to get that revenue back?
The only thing that’s sort of troubling about this technology is that it involves you uploading crazy-detailed data about your body to the Internet. We’re talking data that people you know, that you live with, that look at you every day, could never actually figure out. Data that could be used to model you doing all sorts of things…
That doesn’t necessarily make me uncomfortable, but I can see how other people might not be so sweet on it. Bodymetrics portrays it as pretty universally awesome, however. But can you blame them? Suran Goonatilake, Bodymetrics CEO puts it this way in the press release:
“The body is the last piece of information to go digital. Most of your life is already digital – your friends, your music, your bank account – all accessible on-line, but your body is not. Bodymetrics together with PrimeSense is enabling consumers to store and access all their body information online and link this to retailers. Now, body scanning becomes a powerful platform for mnay retailers to provide the personalized fit and service their customers have always wanted.”
There are two, pretty distinctly different ways you can look at that statement, but whichever jumps out at you, this is a thing that is happening so you better get used to it. I, for one, will trade my body information in exchange for the privelage of purchasing shirts online and having them fit. That is priceless.
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