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UK Retailer Launches Augmented Reality Dressing Room

Even for people who love to shop, trying on clothes in dressing rooms can be a trying experience. If you hate to shop, it can be a form of torture that should only be reserved for your worst enemies. The clothes don’t sit right, the sizes seem off, or it doesn’t look as good as it did on the rack. You could spend hours trying on clothes and still strike out, but would the experience be any better if you could try the clothes on without ever having to leave the comfort of your home?

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UK retailer Banana Flame has teamed up with software company Zugara to develop an augmented reality shopping experience that lets people try on the company’s clothes while they shop online. Using a webcam and the e-commerce software Webcam Social Shopper, people looking for some new threads can see what the clothes would look like on them, and even ask friends for their opinions on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But what does it mean to try on clothes virtually, it can’t possibly be the same as actually putting them on, right? Right. There are aspects to clothing like the cut, fabric, feel, stitching, quality, or sizing that can’t be replicated through augmented reality, but the system is a step above simply shopping online blind, and could still be useful in helping people make decisions about clothes without making the dreaded trek to the dressing room.

When shopping on the Banana Flame website, users can try on any of the clothes for sale by projecting the clothes onto their picture. Shoppers need to stand a few steps back from their computer, and position the camera facing them. The clothing item will then automatically position itself on top of what the user is already wearing.

Shoppers can touch virtual buttons to make adjustments to how the clothes are positioned on their body using technology similar to that used for Microsoft’s Kinect. You can also make changes to the clothing, like the color, using arm movements. If you still aren’t sure if that top or pair of pants is really right for  you, the software will snap a picture of you in the clothing that you can post to Facebook or Twitter to get a second opinion.

You aren’t going to get the real experience of trying on clothes with the Webcam Social Shopper, but you are going to come closer than anything other technology out there has to offer. At the very least, it could make shopping for clothes a little more fun for people who can’t stand the thought of having to try things on to get the right fit.

(via Read Write Web)

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