Online shopping has one big disadvantage: You can only try on the shopped fashion once your order has arrived. A new research project called “Magic Mirror” tests virtual fitting of clothes with the help of 3D-avatars.
The drawback of online shopping: In the online shop shirts or blouses looked as if they would suit you. But as soon as the order arrives at home you find out they don’t fit. The clothes are too tight, too loose or they don’t look good on you. For about half a year researcher Nola Donato’s team at Intel Labs has been conducting research that could reinvent the internet shopping experience. The ambitious long term project called “Magic Mirror” should enable consumers to fit the latest fashion online using a virtual 3D-avatar.
Intel Labs researcher Nola Donato demonstrating "Magic Mirror"
In the first months of the project Nola’s team focused on the so called parametric model. The challenge here is to create a virtual model of a human body that allows remodelling the shape of nearly every human body by modifying just few typical parameters. The foundation of the research in this space was detailed body scans of actual people. The researchers were able to break the differences of shapes of human bodies down to six parameters which additionally have interdependencies: height, weight, hip and chest circumference, leg-length and breast height. If one of these parameters changes the others don’t just scale proportionally with it, but the whole body shape changes. The parametric model was designed to have the same statistical variance as the human body. Using this model all shoppers should be able to fit clothing virtually without having to do a complex body scan prior to their shopping experience.
Shoppers need to be able to adjust the model to their body's shape – or in other words: create their own avatar. Nola’s team used an existing Intel algorithm to provide a seamless and fast way to calculate the 3D-model. Thanks to this algorithm edges of avatars are smooth. Consumers can use body gestures to control the software and to view or modify avatars. In order to allow for that Microsoft Kinect’s* skeleton tracking captures user gestures for “Magic Mirror”. The user interface shows a marker for each hand and a symbol for the different parameters of the model which can be changed by gestures.
A future challenge will be to develop more realistic avatars. In the next version they will get faces and hair going forward. The Intel Labs researchers are also looking into fashion industry collaborations in order to use 3D models of actual clothing. Thanks to “Magic Mirror” every consumer could soon be able to virtually walk the catwalk dressed in the latest fashion.
Video demonstration of the Magic Mirror demo.
* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.