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Augmented Reality Shopping

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By Clement Charles, CEO & Founder, AllTheContent News Agency

“Augmented reality” shopping is landing in shops and it’s about to revolutionize e-commerce.

Augmenting reality is an old technological dream which has finally been made possible thanks to the explosion of multimedia tools which are being integrated into our daily lives: smartphones proposing geolocalized apps (for example, layar), or gaming consoles which incorporate elements of reality into virtual games.

Shifting from digital to physical, the British clothing chain TopShop has been proposing an original kind of fitting workshop in its Moscow boutiques: clients no longer need to step into a dressing room and get undressed! Not to worry though, this is not about strolling down aisles in the nude – rather, it’s now possible to try clothing on to see how it fits without stripping!

The technology which is used is based on AR (Augmented Reality) Door know-how, and on an original blend of existing technologies, initially designed for other uses. The device is essentially a very large LED or LCD screen connected to a Kinect, Microsoft’s last success, making it possible to interact without a joystick or an xBox. The whole thing is then supported by as yet experimental technology from the Russian start-up Ar Door. Ultimately, clients only need to step in front of the screen to scroll clothing from the shop over their bodies, adapting to their shapes and moving as they do.

While it is fair to imagine that a person who steps into a shop won’t mind going the extra step to try something on, this invention seems mostly interesting for the future of e-commerce, since it will allow anyone to try on the latest trends without going out in the rain, being embarrassed to ask for bigger sizes, or waiting in line to try something on in a stale-smelling changing room.

The recent success of several e-commerce websites for eyeglasses, which use similar techniques via a webcam and online products to try frames on, highlights the relevance of this virtual mirror approach. It’s a glimpse of the future, in which bio-morphological parameters will be an integral part of people’s digital identity, allowing each element of their media universe to act as a springboard for selling personalized products.

Something else to keep an eye on.

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