The major obstacle facing online clothing shoppers is the inability to try on a garment before purchasing. Webcam Social Shopper, a new virtual dressing room concept, is hoping to change that. Blending Project Natal-like motion-capture with scenes from Clueless, the webcam-based dressing room allows you to, sort of, try on clothes you see online.
The program is essentially a modified mirror that lets you see what clothes will probably look like on you, as well as letting you sort through items and put them in your shopping cart with ease via motion-capture buttons. The most innovative idea is a marker you print out and hold up to your webcam, so the software can calculate the orientation of the virtual garments. This gives you the ability to adjust the angle or size of the garment. That way, if you see something online you like, you can have the program project it onto the marker. Then you stiffly stand roughly about where it's now hanging in virtual space.
The program certainly is far from perfect, and will only let you try on a cut-and-pasted image of the item. This could lead to ill-fitting and lumpy estimations of what the clothes would really look like on you. But the layout and control system are interesting -- it's good to see practical applications for augmented reality tech -- and, with a little tweaking, it could really be useful. Soon you'll be able to try on clothes from the comfort of your own home, for that telecommuting job of yours.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.