Virtual locker rooms are getting more and more impressive – and more intrusive
Urbana, Illinois – When online purchases have skyrocketed due to the pandemic, retailers have introduced new ways to virtually try on clothes, and consumers are definitely buying. But as a virtual dressing room technology improves, customers might have more to worry about than the fit of a shirt.
PhD students Kedan Li, Jeffrey Zhang and Min Jin Chong have created a virtual locker room program that uses “deep learning” and artificial intelligence. It allows clothing to “lay” more precisely on a body and looks more realistic than ever on a computer screen.
According to TechCrunch, Revery, as the program is called, analyzes and processes over a million different garments each week, a rate that no other fashion app or program has ever been able to achieve.
Being able to see what a garment will look like on your body is not only functional, but also, apparently, taps into a client’s vanity – with positive results. Clothing companies that have started using Revery have seen sales skyrocket by up to 380%.
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Previous digital locker room programs used 3D modeling by simply overlaying pictures on a stranger’s photo, much like online kids dress up games.
Revery is different in that it can search the SKU for just about any garment available, and buyers can customize their avatar to look more like them through skin tone, hairstyle, and poses. Its downside is that the developers at Revery haven’t yet been able to come up with avatars to reflect different sized body types, which other companies have been doing for a long time.
In fact, some fashion brands have started encouraging customers to do full body scans using technology they already have at home, using an XBox Kinect, or even just their smartphone.
Still, companies looking to develop and improve “try-on” clothing for the home have kept flowing in.
Last year, fashion company Zalando bought Fision, a Swiss tech company that uses body-scanning technology, for use in its virtual dressing room.
Other virtual home locker room programs, like Haier’s Smart Mirror, scan your body with clothes, so you often have to adjust clothing measurements due to inaccurate body size scans.
3DLook seeks to improve the problems of other companies by analyzing your body down to its contours for more precise sizing.
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And another company that has gone in a different direction, YourFit, has started using customer-submitted photos for their virtual dressing room.
Ultimately, a perfect fit means businesses save when consumers return fewer items.
Yet while these new technological developments make home shopping more convenient, there seems to be an increasing need for personal body information to improve accuracy.
What happens when the time comes to buy a swimsuit or lingerie?
Bras are notoriously difficult items to find a proper fit and often require the help of a salesperson for advice and adjustments. Many women have worn the wrong size underwear for years just to avoid the experience of the in-person locker room. Shopping online can help those who may be a little shy.
It’s easy to imagine that users might be willing to upload some pretty nude photos to a “secure server” if that meant they could put on a comfortable bra without needing the help of. a stranger or having to leave the house. Some buyers might be enticed to upload their photos through a discount or sales event.
Yet this information can be surprisingly compromised when a customer’s favorite store becomes the latest victim of an internet hack. Along with the credit card number stored by shoppers, personal information about their height, weight, and revealing photos can now be uploaded for sale on the dark web.
So before you reboot your next wardrobe, consider looking at brands online that offer free returns, then buy in different sizes and send back what doesn’t fit you. It seems the safest way if you’re worried about leaving scantily clad photos in a locker room online.