…Who’s the Most Innovative of Them All?
We have previously written about Amazon’s ground breaking patents, including their “on demand apparel panel cutting” design. In regard to fashion and tech, we have also laid out the framework for some of the most innovative applications of virtual reality. One example was that virtual reality may provide an alternative for shopping in a physical retail store. Customers could try on clothing in a virtual setting, instead.
Well, Amazon patented a mirror that allows users to virtually try on clothing. This company is leaving all of us with fewer reasons to make trips to any retail space. The technology they have developed continues to change the nature of the fashion industry. Those who felt uncomfortable buying online, without having first tried on the garments, may now have no excuse.
The “blended-reality mirror” uses cameras, projectors, displays, mirrors, and lights to produce a moving image of the user, thus producing an image in real-time. The mirror starts by replicating the physical environment in which the user is standing and then it identifies the user’s features to accurately reflect the image. In addition to these layers, there are virtual clothes and scenes that are blended with the reflected images.
The one thing that disappoints us the most is that we are unsure of whether this patent will ever become a product. We are hopeful, as Amazon has already explored this type of virtual fashion technology with the Echo Look. The voice-activated device takes full length photos and 360° videos on command— every fashion blogger’s dream! There are further features on the paired app that allow users to compile a digital closet and to perform a “Style Check” to get only the most flattering outfits based on advice from fashion specialists.
No matter how exciting this patent may seem, we always have to take a step back to think about the implications of new technology. As all of the traditional devices we have grown accustomed to continue to be added to the Internet of Things, we have to consider how we as consumers are implicated in a race for more data. With a mirror like this in our lives, it is pertinent to consider what type of data can be analyzed from our interactions with it. Does the digital replication of our bodies travel to different companies as we try on their clothing? Is the privacy of our homes where we try on clothing breached, as well? These are important questions that dictate whether consumers will really engage with this mirror.
We look forward to seeing how the law can regulate these issues and whether Amazon will release this as an official product!
Main Image by: Lucie Marsmann