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Virtual Bodyscanner, Virtual Fit/Sizing and Virtual 2D/3D Try-On and Virtual Closet List

July 16, 2012 2 comments


Microsoft Kinect Technology is Transforming Bodyscanning and Virtual Fit Capabilities.

Whew –  that is quite a title for this posting and believe me it is not representative of the slew of fashion try on apps out there and not all of them are connected to “fit.” All these apps represent a lot of confusion no doubt caused by that magnificent Kinect-based technology that Microsoft made possible. Before Kinect technology it was either type in your own measurements online to match brand size measurements to user measurements or the currently expanding number of on site body scanners like Me Ality that provide a totally accurate body scan  [far more accurate than what an average user would ever type in]. The scanner service matches and locates brand items that fit the body scan measurements. [Update: If Me-Ality installs 300 bodyscanner brand size matching services in shopping centers across North America as I blogged about in the last post, they will have addressed and resolved a portion of the accurate sizing issue for online retailers. Once your accurate body measurements are in the Me-Ality database, you can shop online for accurate fitting clothing. This will have the effect of significantly reducing returns from online sales. I wonder if the Me-Ality scanner data was uploaded to the [TC]2 mobile Virtual Fashion System if the user could then virtually test various brands of garment fit on themselves in 360 rotation? – see the Smart Phone section on the [TC]2 post]. Kinect based technology has made several 2D try on “flat photo image” applications and 3D [360 degree rotational] accurate sizing and fit applications for the on site retail market and development for home based 3D Kinect fit and sizing services is fast and furious, more are emerging every day.

Kinect technology full 3D bodyscanners have been developed that are capable of providing “highly accurate” full body scans. The key word is “accurate’ the number of depth sensors are directly related to the accuracy and  number of measurements that can be scanned. The number of seconds it takes to scan the 3,6,10 is far less important than the accuracy of the scan and number of measurements the scan [related to the number of 3D depth sensors]. The low cost [$10,000 (portable) or $12,500 in the booth version] TC2 “16 depth sensor” Kinect based bodyscanner machine the KX-16  is overall equal to full body scanners and supports hundreds of measurements with better than 1/4″ accuracy.

You have to know exactly what you are looking for because there is an abundance of smoke and mirrors out there. The listing for bodyscanners and full service providers on this post is not all-inclusive. You will have to do your own research and ask a lot of questions relating to what outcomes you specifically want and compare closely. There will be an International Conference and Exhibition on 3D Body Scanning Technologies in Lugano Switzerland in October, check out the program topics and technical program here. If you are lucky enough to attend, get yourself bodyscanned at several vendors and compare the results.

 Chasing the Holy Grail of Accurate Virtual Bodyscanning & Fit

So far several candidates seem to be currently vying for holy grail development and service providers. First to be mentioned is TC2, who is a provider of direct and indirect technology products and services to industry. [Their mission is to elevate the level of technology, manufacturing systems, and business processes employed in the global soft goods industry through research and development, education, training, and outreach.] Others are Human Solutions, Bodymetrics and DNA Interactif Fashion. Styku is all over the Web announcing that they are definitely chasing the full range of holy grail services but seems to be still in development phase. They are all vying to become the first widely used mass market providers of an entire range of services that includes but is not limited to accurate bodyscanning for fit, & sizing, for product customization and home and/or retail virtual try-on with accurate fit and sizing with the ability to move around in the draped clothing and test tightness of looseness of the fit. Color and styling selections are part of the service as well as locating items from specific brands that the user can try on in the privacy of their home.

Variety of Other Virtual Fit and Virtual Closet Services

Some of the other retail-based Kinect applications enable the user to overlay images of fashion items over a video of them to visually see how the items [dress, handbag, etc.] kind of, sort of look like on the viewer by overlaying a flat 2D photo image.

Not using the Kinect technology is True Fit, one of the more well-known online fit and sizing service. Macy’s and Nordstrom have recently begun using True Fit for certain categories of apparel on their websites. True Fit uses a computer program that relies partly on the clothes already in a person’s closet along with brands’ size specifications. Metail, a virtual fitting room launched by Tesco on Facebook. MyVirtualModel  MVM now markets a weight management simulator in additioin to the My Virtual Model app. One fit application that stands alone in the FitsMe application. It is a shape shifting robot that lets you try clothes online.

TC2 offers low-cost 2D/3D Kinect based body scanning devices for home with the Single Windows Kinect Body Scnner and the TC2 Virtual Fashion System or the V-Dresser [or for Weight Management].

The List

1. Full Bodyscanners [highly detailed or detailed  accuracy]

[note: If you are looking for this technology make sure the measurement extraction goes right to your servers. If there is an online extraction service it should go only to the companies servers and not to the scanner company. If it goes to the scanner companies server, they get a copy of all your data.]

  • TC2 – ImageTwin  Highly detailed accuracy, NX-16 White light and also 16 sensor KX-16 Kinect Technology.
  • Telmat Highly detailed accuracy,White light technology
  • Human Solutions  Highly detailed accuracy, Laser technology
  • Spacevision Cartesia  Highly detailed accuracy[offered by TC2 in US and Europe] Laser technology [Spacevision of Japan is currently the leading scanner in Japan and Korea]
  • Styku  Kinect 4 sensor Kinect technology/detailed accuracy [possibly a proprietary system linked to Tukacad]

2. Full Bodyscanning  Fit, Sizing, Style, and Data Collection  Services

  • Me-Ality Service geared to match consumers to brand fit and styling selection. [Unique Solutions, Gen. II Intellifit Technology] Currently there already are 65 locations across the US [link], funding was awarded in 2011 for 300 new locations All planned locations are here. Video link of retail service here.
  • Alvascan Service geared to retailers for fit. [Gen I Intellifit, TC2, Human Solutions Technology].

3. Holy Grail Chasers:  Full bodyscanning  fit and sizing/virtual try-on retail/home, data collection, and mass customization services.

The companies below are representative of some candidates for possibly offering all these products and/or services either via industry outreach or directly to the retail industry. In some cases many or in other only a few more ingredients are needed to obtain the magical holy grail. The most obvious requirement is current placement at retail level.

  • TC2 offers and is in continual research and development for the latest in 2D/3D technology primarily for the global softgoods industries that incorporate bodyscanning including chasers of Phase II “holy grail” home-based  2D/3D Kinect fit technology. In addition to the KX-16 portable full body scanner TC2 offers [TC]2’s Virtual Fashion System  – it makes lifelike natural pose avatars and can show them with clothing, and can predict sizes or provide custom clothing specifications that are compatible with other systems. Here is a link to a mobile device simulation, [note:if you click on the link give it a few seconds to start]. Clothing can be generated from V-Dresser, Marvelous Designer, OptiTex, Lectra, Maya, etc etc etc.  TC2 also offers the  V-Dresser  3D virtual garment creation system. Leveraging recently released low-cost scanning devices for home use, [TC]² has combined that low-cost power and availability with its Size Selection, Avatar Creation, Virtual Fashion, and Weight Loss Visualization technologies developed over the years for use with high-accuracy 3D full body scans. The result is an extremely high value-low cost solution for retail, at-home, and web-enabled smart phone applications. V-Dresser is the overall highest quality lowest cost system and is compatible with garment content from almost all systems. TC2 maintains a strong link between education and industry. TC2 technology is currently placed in numerous public applications via a range of products/service arrangements.
  • DNA Interactif Fashion [TC2 Image Twin technology] iStyling Service w/ Interactif Mirror video here. Users can use cloud platform to access their personal proportions, personal body measurements and personalized mannequin to buy apparel, accessories, styling advice, health advice and select new hair styles. All purchases automatically appear on all devices. So they can use it always and everywhere. The consumer can even share info, outfits etc with the community. Offerings of full service here. Their site has links to 3 retail placements, go to DNA Homepage  drop down menu, select References and select from one to the 3 lower locations.
  • Human Solutions Retail [Laser technology] offers life-like natural pose avatars and can show them with clothing, and can predict sizes or provide custom clothing specifications that are linked to industrial processes.  The HS system can utilize 3D clothing generated from its product development applications. HS has developed a product called The Virtual Mirror. It connects your products and your customers virtually in real time. In a seamless process chain, bodyscanning is interactively connected with 3D clothing simulation and CAD software.
  • BodyMetrics [Kinect Based PrimeSense Solutions Technology] Bodyscanning for Brand matching for Fit, Style Selection, Sizing. Currently available at several retail locations [video link here] , Kinect based home shopping virtual try-on and fit services currently in development.
  • Styku [Kinect4 sensor Kinect technology]  Currently no real deployments at retail. [Seems to be still in full concept development stage for Fit, Style Selection, Sizing  and Virtual Try-On  retail/home services and perhaps a variety of other products and services are being planned. [Update: Styku was conducting a 3 month manual user measurement input demo test [category #4] for an online e-tailer Billy Blues that was no longer working at the time of my research for this post. Currently it looks like Billy Blues is no longer taking orders but Styku seems to have recently activated a demo page again for a manual user input size matching service [not a bodyscanning brand matching size service] on their site for jeans at Nordstroms. Here is the direct link.  This does not seem to be a service that is available directly from Nordstroms. Nordstrom currently uses the True Fit service listed below]

4.  Online Fit And Sizing Services That Require User Input Data

This category has some sites that are only available through a retailer, while others are Web services open to the public.  Body dimensions estimated via a variety of questionnaire interfaces where user fills out measurements and current brand style, size/fit info and that algorithm data is matched up with style, sizing and fit info available for online brands.

5. Video image, 3DKinect Bodyscanning Virtual Fit Rooms/Robotic Clothes Form

  • UpCload – Free public user site and available for retailers. Users size is estimated via Webcam image and user input measurements.
  • TC2 Single Windows Kinect Body Scanner   Accurate Human Avatars for All Applications Including size selection advice, virtual fashion and weight loss visualization.
  • Fitiquette – Looks like it will be only a service for retail clients. Seems to be still in development stage – does not seem to be in any on site retailer right now only demo video. The video has too much focus on the customer’s hand movements and not enough focus on the actual product.  Hummm. Video link.  Looks like a still in development 3D Kinect based application that is being planned for use in store and at home with online platform that allows users to input clothing sizes, body types, styles, colors and preferred shopping brands to find the best “fit” using a rotating model. Very interesting…
    Startup Spotlight: Q&A With Fitiquette.
  • Sizeseeker Not sure how this will be marketed. The company uses the Xbox Kinect to help users accurately find their clothing size. They are members of the Wharton Venture Initiation Program, all Sizeseeker needs is a photo from the front and side and it will automatically compare your measurements with 100,000 other body scans to estimate size. Wharton Journal link.
  • Fits.me – Only a service for retail clients and a really one-of-a-kind unique one at that. Video link.  Robotic size changing clothes form – responds to typed in measurements. Selected garment sizes are illustrated on robotic shape shifting form that match users typed in measurements.

6. Virtual Closets/ Kinect based 2D Virtual dressing room Virtual Closets

Virtual dressing rooms and virtual closets are “not” fitting room applications.  Virtual-Closet Web Sites Revise Online Fashion Shopping , NY Times.

And finially here is a link to the research link page at [TC]2 and also another link to Cornell University, College of Human Ecology related sites from their 3D body scanner research pages.

Alvanon: Innovative, Integrated Fit Solutions for the Apparel Industry

Alavnon uses and links cutting-edge technology to create an innovative transformational process that results in a full service fit and sizing company that offers brands the elusive goal of determining a custom sizing standard for their brand and developing custom forms [that reflect their clientele] and pattern blocks to ensure quality and consistent fit for their product.

Products and Services

 

Listed below are current products and services provided by Alvanon:

AlvaInsight develops fit specifications and grade rules to provide the best fit for the “sweet spot” of your target customer base. Integrated methodology combines technical design expertise, analytical skill, our global body measurement and shape database to redefine particular product specifications and apply anatomically aligned grade rules.

AlvaScan is the first step to improving fit by capturing the exact body specifications of your target market. This customized scanning service utilizes portable and easy-to-use, cutting edge technology to gather relevant data. AlvaScan utilizes safe millimeter wave scanners, to accurately measure a fully clothed body in seconds. These 3D full body scanners (produced by Intellifit Corp, with www.it-fits.info as the link underlying Intellifit Corp) have been employed worldwide and have gathered data for more than 200,000 subjects. This is the most cost-effective method for gathering large amounts of scan data accurately. We have also partnered with various National Size Surveys and have included this data in our measurement databases, giving more breadth and depth to our analysis.

AlvaForm fit mannequins represent the core body standard within a company’s supply chain. The AlvaForm Standard facilitates communication and creates alignment between all parties. The result is improved speed to market and an optimized fit approval process.

AlvaBlock  Customized for you target customer – basic blocks for correct and consistent fit.

AlvaTraining Alvanon has partnered with several training authorities around the world to educate your supply chain on how to effectively implement and measure results for AlvaForm, AlvaBlock and AlvaPhoto systems. They also provide training to your designers, merchandisers, pattern makers, retail store staff on the new fit and how it relates to your customers.

Product Catalog links

Academic Partnership Page

Alvanon’s Latest Creation Your Personal Fit Model

News Articles on Alvanon.

More on Alvanon products and services here on previous blog posting.

Target Australia National Sizing Survey

Target Australia is partnering with Alvanon to body scan about 25,000 people from 4/30/12 to 5/30/12 to get their body measurements down to the exact millimetre. It will be recorded, processed and Target will come up with sizing that best suits the Target Australia population,”

Target managing director Dene Rogers predicts the technology will revolutionise the way we buy and fit clothes. Here is a link to the official Target Australia National Size Survey page describing the body scanning sizing project is here. Scroll down to see two official Target videos demonstrating and explaining the project.

Here is a detailed article on the Target Australia National Size Survey Project titled: Sizing up Australia – is Target’s 3D body scanner the shape of things to come?   by Kate Kennedy, Lecturer, School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT University.

This article mentions the long desired hope for development of a public domain database to inform both the industry and consumers on Australia’s size and shape. Many people within the Australia textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry will no doubt be viewing Target’s body-scanning project with a certain amount of envy.

I believe many people in the US (AAFA) American Apparel & Footwear Association [as well as Target US] will also be viewing Target Australia’s body-scanning project with a certain amount of envy. Development of an expanded SIZEUSA public domain database would be excellent for generic industry, consumers and educational researchers. Perhaps this is something that AAFA as an organization would consider supporting. [SizeUSA was a two-year National Sizing Survey was sponsored by clothing and textile companies, the Army, Navy and several universities. Lead researcher for the study was Dr. Cynthia Istook, a North Carolina State University textiles professor who teamed up with AlvaProducts using TC2 scanners –source] Matching brand specific items to customers is a win for customers who end up with reliable and good fit and retailers who increase sales [especially online] and reduce returns.

Link to article about the SizeUSA research: Changing the Way Apparel Companies Think about Body Shape.

Anyone that would like to submit a guest blog posting on the subject of expanding on the SizeUSA public database research project, please contact me at polvinem@buffalostate.edu

Intellifit Bodyscan Technology for Public Sizing and Fit Services

July 7, 2012 1 comment

Intellifit Technology Inventors

Ed Gribbin, the former president of Intellifit and, along with Albert Charpentier, are the co-inventors of the Intellifit scanner. The Intellifit body scanner uses radio wave technology (safe low-power millimeter waves) that were licensed from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 2002. Ed states that “Intellifit is the only body scan technology that can collect body measurements while people remain fully clothed.” Ed and Albert are technological pioneers in public body scanning technology to determine size and fit. Their Intellifit technology is a critical foundation ingredient that is totally transforming and enabling an integrated process to target sizing and fit standards for retail brands.
In the article Body-scanning kiosk wows apparel shoppers , Ed and Albert stated the following:

At the time that the Intellifit scanner was developed, I was helping a few retailers improve their size specifications,” said Ed Gribbin, director of strategic services for AlvaProducts’ global consulting division and co-inventor of Intellifit.  We tried to do a manual measurement survey using trained seamstresses, and we realized the limitations of taking 36 points of measure on a body manually. We looked to other body scan technologies as a first step, thinking that would be a way to automate the tailor. But all these technologies required the subject to get undressed, step into a booth, and basically get their picture taken. It was no faster than manually measuring someone.
It was also considered obtrusive to subjects in a store setting, according to Gribbin. Intellifit was thusly created as a consumer-friendly scanner, allowing users to be scanned fully clothed. Plus, downsizing the scanning chamber allows for a smaller footprint that retailers can accommodate.
“Consumers see the value proposition immediately,” said Intellifit co-founder and CTO Albert Charpentier. “They understand what it can do for them. Most people are willing to give a couple of minutes of their time to get scanned, because their sizing information is then online and they can utilize it to get better-fitting clothes.”

Edward A. Gribbin is currently the President of Alvanon, Inc. and Albert Charpentier is now the Acting VP Engineering for Unique Solutions/Me-Ality.

Alvanon

Ed Gribbin left Intellifit in 2005 to run his own consulting business (Fitspec, LLC) and licensed the data that Intellifit had collected (and continues to collect) and uses the data to advise retailers and brands on size and fit strategy and solutions. In mid-2006, he merged his consulting practice with Alvanon, who was already a leader in providing fit forms to apparel retailers and brands; the consulting division was known first as ‘Strategic Services’, then ‘AlvaSpec’ and today, ‘AlvaInsight’.He led that division from 2006 to the beginning of 2011 when he became president of Alvanon.
Upon joining Alvanon, Ed saw the need to continue to collect data, especially internationally, so Alvanon bought four or five scanners from Intellifit over the next few years. The scanning division is named ‘AlvaScan’ but it uses the Intellifit (radio wave) scanners; AlvaScan has now collected data in China, Australia, Germany and England and are planning scan studies in India and Brazil in the near future. Alvanon also owns scanners from TC2 (white light) and Human Solutions (laser) but currently they do not use them for large, public data collection situations. Most likely because “Intellifit is the only body scan technology that can collect body measurements while people remain fully clothed.” [author note: that might change with the introduction of the [TC]2 portable KX-16]

The 6/12 Stores article Fit Shapes Up  by Faye Brookman states the following:

 Alvanon works with brands to expand the number of people they can dress by focusing on body shapes, not just sizing. Originally developed in 2001 by Intellifit Corporation, Alvanon’s AlvaScan is a full-body scanner that captures accurate measurement data in seconds. That data is aggregated and used to create a 3D virtual body, the starting point for making a mannequin. Alvanon has built the largest global database of body measurements by placing the scanners in retail stores or malls.

“Every single one of our mannequins is based on thousands and thousands of body scans of real people,” Ed Gribbin says. “And when we go to our database, we have empirical evidence that backs up what real women out there who are size eight or 10 really look like.

Alvanon is the global leader in providing full service, integrated fit solutions for the apparel industry. With pioneering expertise in strategic fit consulting and the creation and implementation of customized fit mannequins and tools, we offer a holistic approach to solve fit and size issues. [Source: Alvanon About Us page]

Alvanon recently celebrated its 10th year of providing integrated fit technology based products and services to the global soft goods industry.  Alvanon has made major positive and innovative effects on branding fit, sizing and product development fit products for companies worldwide. Mr Gribbin speaks about introducing those changes to the “notoriously resistant to change” apparel industry in this video. The video also features Janice Wang, CEO and Co-Founder of Alvanon, Jason Wang, COO and Co-Founder of Alvanon, and Don Howard, Director, AlvaInsight. In the video Janice shares that the origin of the Alvanon name is Thomas Alva Edison, an innovator that was actually able to commercialize his innovations.” What a concept!

To quote Janice Wang, “At the end of the day we make fashion fit.” Happy 10 year anniversary Alvanon!

Unique Solutions/MyBestFit>Me-Ality

The about us section of the Unique Solutions Website states that following:

In 2002, Unique Solutions introduced the proprietary UniqueScan body scanning system (known as the Intellifit® Plus) using white light technology. In addition to over 200,000 points of body measurement, the Intellifit Plus can report BMI, height, weight, and health risk factors.

In 2009, Unique Solutions Design Ltd, acquired Pennsylvania based competitor, Intellifit Corporation. (Unique Solutions Design buys Intellifit, Business Journal. 2009 ) The Intellifit body measurement system uses radio wave technology and was the only system capable of scanning a clothed body. Unique Solutions applied their proprietary software and upgraded the technology (mybestfit) and offers consumers the ability to quickly determine their exact body measurements and be matched to apparel that fits, without having to remove their clothing.

With the launch of mybestfit in King of Prussia Mall – the largest retail shopping mall in the U.S. – Unique Solutions marked the beginning of public body scanning Intellifit technology and clothing size service to help consumers find their best fitting and most flattering styles from hundreds of brand name apparel lines. Because there is no sizing standard in the apparel industry, guessing the right size has been a source of frustration for customers, this service will match body size to brands and in turn reduce customer frustration with ill fit and reduce garment returns. mybestfit was changed to Me-Ality in the fall of 2011.

The Unique Solution/Me-Ality is a free (Intellifit) scanner-based clothes sizing service that records client data, including physical information such as 3-D body measurements, weight, height and BMI, as well as demographic and contact information such as email address, age, zip code and ethnicity. Their market research shows participating retailers increase sales when participating in our retail sizing solution service. Unique Solutions works with apparel and product manufacturers to develop size and fit solutions for their goods.

A 10 second fully clothed visit to a Unique Solution/Me-Ality mall kiosk will provide a free “scan, fit, shop” experience. Customers are matched to the right size and styles for their shapes then given a shopping list of jeans and apparel that will fit and flatter them. The Intellifit scan uses exact body measurements matched to apparel size specifications. They are informed as to what stores in that mall offers selections that will fit them. Customers can also narrow their list to specific style features, or to favorite brands, or the price they want to pay.

Customers view recommended styles on-screen at the kiosk and then print their final selections to go shopping. Their personalized Me-Ality Clothing Size Shopping Guide is emailed to their phone. They can log onto http://www.me-ality.com and create their personal profile and generate as many Shopping Guides, and learn about new brands and styles, as often as they like. Current brands Me-Ality works with are listed here.
You can search planned Me-Ality location for North America to see if a body scanning kiosk is planned for a shopping center near you.
Visit a Me-Ality Size Matching Station and be scanned to get matched to apparel that will fit. Then you can:
• Create and print your personal Shopping Guide
• Customize your fashion searches
• Search hundreds of styles
• Receive recommendations that will fit & flatter you best
• Make shopping fun and accurate
• Make shopping faster and easier knowing what size you wear

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