The virtual fitting room is an online changing room where you simply enter your sizing statistics and a robotic mannequin models how various sizes will look on your torso - all from the comfort of your own home. Among a host of advantages, the virtual fitting room saves time - the one commodity destined to always be in short supply - and solves the single biggest problem for online fashion retail - the lack of a fitting room. When it was introduced for men last year, sales to new customers increased by 57 percent, and sales to international customers doubled, while returns also decreased to just 2.99 percent. Now it's available for women too.

The first female FitBot robotic mannequins took a little longer to implement than the male versions (which were introduced in May, 2010) mainly because of the diversity of shape and size of the female body.

"Using proprietary FitBot technology, robots can conform to over 85 percent of the female individuals that shop online today," according to Dr. Maarja Kruusmaa, professor of biorobotics at Tallinn Technical University and co-developer of the technology.

"By entering a few measurements into the model, customers can visualize how different sizes of garments complement their unique shape. has already collected information from well over 100,000 male end users, and the data confirms what many intrinsically observe; over half of the customers chose a size that is different than the traditional size chart would recommend," says Dr. Kruusmaa.

The female FitBot mannequin is now available at British retailer, Hawes & Curtis, where the male FitBot mannequin was first implemented.

View gallery - 7 images