Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fits Me

Whilst I do shop online I tend to steer clear of buying clothes unless I’ve snuck into a store to try them on first. I really don’t want to go through the hassle of having to exchange an item unnecessarily and with sizing standards a mess, there’s a very annoying possibility I’ll order the wrong size.

That could all be about to end if online retailers adopt, a robotic mannequin that shows how web bought clothes fit your unique figure.

The male mannequin was introduced in 2010 by the Estonian start-up and has about 30 different plates that can shift around to broaden its shoulders, puff out chiselled pecs or depict the not so flattering beer belly. The shifting plates can be adjusted to create about 2,000 different shape permutations.

Retailers signing up with send their garments off the company, where each item is draped over the robot figure. The robot then cycles through every permutation as a camera snaps and logs images of each body shape. Customers simply enter their measurements into the retailer’s site and the most appropriate photograph of the item, mimicking their body shape will be displayed.

"Using proprietary FitBot technology, robots can conform to over 85% of the female individuals that shop online today," says Dr. Maarja Kruusmaa, professor of biorobotics at Tallinn Technical University and co-developer of the technology. “By entering a few measurements into the model, customers can visualize how different sizes of garments compliment their unique shape. has already collected information from well over 100,000 male end users, and the data confirms what many intrinsically observe; over half of the customers chose a size that is different than the traditional size chart would recommend.”

London shirtmaker Hawes & Curtis has already installed the technology onto their online store. "By letting customers use's superior visualisation offerings, our sales to new customers increased by 57 percent, and we have doubled the sales to international customers," said Antony Comyns, head of ecommerce at Hawes & Curtis. “We believe providing this service to online customers is a requirement for any quality fashion retailer. We are thrilled about the launch of the FitBot mannequin for our women’s apparel and being able to offer our female consumers the same valuable service.”

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