We love robots here at PopSci, especially the kind that have practical uses beyond making crowds of onlookers say “wow.” But today FastCo reports on a shape-shifting ‘bot that is both “wow”-worthy and completely useful: a robotic mannequin that can conform to your specific body measurements to show you how an online clothing vendor’s wares will wear on your unique frame.
Fits.me, an Estonian start-up, created the robot to solve the great clothing conundrum of online retail: customers want to shop for clothing online, but they also want to try on clothes to see how they fit before they purchase. This, Fits.me figure, is why two-thirds of all books are now sold online, but only eight percent of clothing is.
Their robot can recreate more than 2,000 male body types, replicating an array of different body types. Rather than mimicking your beer belly in real time, the robot tries on a retailer’s clothing lines in every possible size on every possible body type, saving photos to a database. When you shop, you simply enter your specs into the retailer’s Web site. Fits.me retrieves the photo of the robot surrogate recreating your specs wearing the garment of your choice so you can see the difference, say, between a medium and a large.
Pretty smart, no? Currently there is only a male version of the mannequin, but a female version of the ‘bot is under development, and should be recreating bust lines online by year’s end.