London-based Bodymetrics and 3D machine vision company PrimeSense have developed a full 3D body scanner that is designed to make finding the perfect pair of jeans a whole lot easier. Its "Body Mapping" platform uses eight PrimeSense 3D sensors to take all of a client's necessary measurements and map their body shape. This data is then accessed by retailers, to find the clothes which best fit that client. Initially the scanner is going to be used by Bodymetrics "Fit Stylists" to suggest the best-fitting jeans for female customers. The next step is to revolutionize the online clothing retail market.
The first Body Mapping scanner is now available at a New Look store in London's Westfield Stratford City shopping mall. The machine quickly and accurately calculates 100 measurements which are then analyzed and used to find suitable garments.
Bodymetrics is not the only company trying to save customers time and aggravation by letting them avoid the hassle of having to parade in and out of changing rooms. Also, contrary to what it says in Bodymetrics' press release, it seems that its is not the only full 3D body scanner out there. A similar technology by Unique Solutions Design Ltd has been on the market for quite a while and is used by such companies as Levi's, Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug. In 2009, Unique Solutions Design Ltd acquired Intellifit Corporation, which developed the body scanning solution we covered back in 2005.
However, Bodymetrics' solution is said to be much cheaper and much easier to set up than previous-generation scanners, as it doesn't include lasers or millimeter wave detectors.
If applied broadly, this technology could not only dramatically speed up apparel shopping, but it could also re-shape the clothing retail market as a whole. Of course brick-and-mortar outlets would benefit as well, but it is the online clothing industry that would most likely register a dramatic growth. Currently 20 to 40 percent of all clothes purchased online are returned because they do not fit. If all the customers had their Bodymetrics accounts to fall back on, however, the number of ill-fitting clothes would most likely drop.
"The body is the last piece of information to go digital," says Suran Goonatilake, CEO of Bodymetrics. "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."
This is a bold vision (especially the bit about making our bodies available online), but if Body Mapping makes purchasing clothes even a little less of an ordeal, I am all for it. Oh, and even if for some reason full 3D body scanners do not start popping up on every corner, you can always use an online service like Fits.me to enter your measurements manually.