British researchers have come up with a new body scanning device that gives accurate measurements and could boost online clothes shopping.
Shoppers are still nervous about ordering clothes online because they often do not fit and, some say, there will never be a substitute for trying something on — one reason why the boom in online retail has not had the same impact on clothing as on music, books and electronics retailing.
In the US, for instance, the consultancy ComScore estimated that only 14 percent of online spending went on clothes and accessories in the year to June.
Some firms are already offering home scanners that use a webcam, but the British developers say their system is able to measure in unprecedented detail.
With the new system, a shopper inputs his or her height as a reference and can then take a single full-length picture with a webcam or smartphone from which all their other measurements are calculated.
It uses the measurements combined with a person’s overall proportions to build a 3D image. Combining this with sizing information from retailers, the system would also overcome the problem of variable sizing, which can mean a shopper is a “medium” in one store but a “large” in another.