Target scanner aims to eliminate size ambiguity

For some time now, companies have been working to use computer vision technology in ways that benefit the consumer. More specifically, they are developing body scanners that take measurements of individuals in order to design custom-fitting clothing.

Now, the retailer Target is testing this out in its Australian market to the tune of $1 million.

A 3D body scanner will be used, not to measure each customer individually, but to measure 20,000 adults. This is part of an effort to update conceptions about body types and sizes, and make clothing that adheres to those standards, a response to what has been complained about as “inconsistent sizing” in clothing. The information compiled will be used to determine what common sizing is like, and clothes will be made based on those specifications, hopefully resulting in clothing that fits the majority of the population.

Those who are scanned – a process which is entirely voluntary – will also be able to take their measurements with them, so that they can be used for buying clothes elsewhere or online.

Image courtesy of Perth Now

Is buying clothing in inconsistent sizing something you can relate to? How do you think this might reshape the face of the clothing and fashion industries?

ImageGraphicsVideo takes Kinect one step further

Kinect was first released in late 2010 as a hands-free controller for the Xbox 360. The webcam-like motion sensor allows users to use gestures and spoken commands in order to communicate with the device. And although it was initially released as a gamer tool, the implications for its use extend far beyond that.

The Xbox version of Kinect has sold 18 million copies worldwide since its release. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that a new version, Kinect for PC, will be available for purchase on Feb. 1 in the countries of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Whereas the old version of Kinect is available for as low at $129 on Amazon, the retail price for the PC version is $249 for those in the United States. However, where owners of the latter can download the Kinect Software Development Kit in order to enable the Xbox sensor to work with a PC, Microsoft has shared that the new Kinect for Windows sensor is specifically catered to work with PC systems. And although some users may be reluctant to shell out that kind of money, the price tag of $249 is actually a low cost when you consider the possibilities of what Kinect can help do or accomplish.

There are also rumors that Microsoft is teaming up with ASUS to roll out a line of notebooks featuring Windows 8 and Kinect functionality.

One noticeable difference for Kinect users is that they will be able to use their hands and voices to interact with the computer, which could eliminate the need for a keyboard or a mouse. This will likely prompt application developers to begin re-imagining the design and functionality of apps.

Although Kinect is primarily used with video games, its capabilities for use of facial recognition, voice recognition, and 3D scanning enable it to do so much more. These kinds of uses were discovered by hackers and software developers alike; this is part of what prompted Microsoft’s decision to make Kinect available for computers, so developers will be able to harness its power and expand upon its probable uses.

In addition, Kinect can be used in conferences, where using keyboards and mice can sometimes interrupt the flow of a presentation or meeting. Doctors could benefit from Kinect, saving time by using it to access information about a patient or procedure in the middle of operations, as opposed to scrubbing out, finding the information on a separate computer, and scrubbing back in. Students can also benefit from the software, particularly in anatomy-based courses.

Practical applications aside, one company, ImageGraphicsVideo, develops software the utilizes Kinect for a variety of other purposes. The information obtained from Kinect is done using motion sensors and a scanner, which can calculate biometric data about your body, or another object in front of it.

Using Kinect’s capabilities, combined with its own self-developed software, it is able to create 3d models of objects or entire rooms. Another use for this software is to collect measurement data in order to create custom-tailored clothing. And that’s just the beginning.

Using a depth camera and a series of measurements, the company is able to create 3D digital images, which can then be used to analyze information or control processes. With information obtained, the company works to create custom software based on a customer’s specific needs. In other words, the only real limit is simply one’s imagination.

Creating custom clothing

Where 3D scanning was once something relegated to the field of science, now it has expanded to a somewhat unlikely realm: the fashion world.

Clothing company Fitted Fashion is the most recent in a series of businesses implementing the use of full-body scanners to take hundreds of measurements of individuals in a matter of minutes. Those measurements are then stored and used in the creation of clothing, such as custom-made jeans for women.

In the future, there is also the potential to have those measurements sent to other retailers, including those online, which could further change the way people shop for clothing.

Image courtesy of Gizmag

Additionally, this technology has the potential to extend beyond designer jeans. In fact, it can be used to create custom anything – whether it’s suits, shirts, or shoes. The only limitation seems to be one’s imagination.