Smartphones: The future's tape measure

Summary:Tape measures, fiddling around with conversion tables and annoying attendants by swapping sizes in the changing room may soon be a thing of the past.

Tape measures, fiddling around with conversion tables and annoying attendants by swapping sizes in the changing room may soon be a thing of the past.

Scientists from Surrey University and designers based at the London College of Fashion say that new software could be used by shoppers to take precise waist, hip, chest and other body measurements in order to buy the best-fitting sizes in the future.

Using a smartphone's camera and height as a starting point, the software creates a 3D replica of your body, estimating size at various points. The researchers believe this will be a more accurate representation of your proportions than traditional 'small/medium/large/XL' labels.

Professor Adrian Hilton, from the University of Surrey, believes it is "unrealistic" to expect shoppers to take defined measurements for themselves, and this kind of technology could save retailers a fortune -- as well as customers aggravation -- spent due to returned items and the need to order the same garment multiple times, eventually making the supply chain more simplistic and potentially increasing efficiency.

The project, sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is expected to be commercially available within the next two years.

"The potential benefits for the fashion industry and for shoppers are huge," said Philip Delamore from the London College of Fashion. "Currently, it's common for online shoppers to order two or three different sizes of the same item of clothing at the same time, as they're unsure which one will fit best."

Image credit: Eden Pictures

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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