Wednesday, July 7, 2010

robot mannequins, crazy hand gestures: this is shopping?

by frédérik sisa

Imagine going to a website, inputting your measurements, and watching as a robotic mannequin tries on clothes for you. You could get an idea as to how a piece of clothing would fit…too loose? Too tight? Too unflattering? Perfect? That’s the idea behind, a venture-backed company hoping to provide online retailers with a virtual fitting room.

The heart of is a robotic mannequin that can change its shape – morph, if you will – to match the measurements entered by users. Although they don’t have a female mannequin yet (I believe they plan on releasing one by the end of the year), the male mannequin they have is pretty cool. Check out the demo.

But Cisco – yeah, the network switch people – has a different vision of shopping for clothes. Although they present it in a store, I could see this being adapted to the home through a combination of webcams and various projection technologies.

The robot mannequin is already being deployed, so the concept is moving nicely beyond the proving stages. Cisco’s system, which reminds me an awful lot of Bluetooth cyborg people who look like they’re talking to themselves only with crazy wild gestures, seems like a mere gleam.

Both of these seem pretty cool to me, although I wonder if anything can replace the feeling of actually trying on clothes, perhaps working a tailor to get the fit right...

What do you think? Would either of these be satisfying to your shopping needs?

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