Amazon scanning users' bodies to enhance digital shopping

According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is inviting users to its NY office to scan their bodies and collect their measurements to improve the online shopping experience.


Amazon's Echo Look, another of the online retailer's investments in new technologies - Amazon's Echo Look

The project offers users who have been invited into the program to be measured twice a month for 20 weeks. Amazon is collecting the data to learn "how bodies change shape over time" according to a survey given to participants.

The data will be used by Amazon to develop its 3D body scanning technology with the end goal of reducing returns for clothing bought online. Last October, Amazon acquired computer vision startup Body Labs, which claims that its technology can "accurately predict and measure the 3D shape of your customers using just a single image."

According to the Wall Street Journal, body scanning is one of Amazon's chief initiatives as it continues to expand in fashion. The Journal reports that Amazon's body scanning strategy is to develop "statistical 3-D models of human bodies, which it will then match to images and videos of people via deep-learning algorithms and other tactics."

According to a job posting for Amazon's body scanning team, the technology will be used for a "wide range of commercial applications."

To participate in the project, Amazon asked users to fill out a survey providing information about their body types. Users selected for the research will be compensated in Amazon gift cards valued at up to $250.

Amazon's fashion business continues to grow at warp speed. The company has launched 15 private label brands and continues to form partnerships for direct sales of products from retailers including Nike, Kohl's and Chico's.

In January, the online retailer filed a patent for a magic mirror using augmented reality to help users try on clothing and get the perfect fit and last year it also launched Echo Look, which has similar Alexa virtual assistant features to the Echo but with a fashion focus. The Echo Look can take full body photos and videos of users which could well be integrated with the developing body scanning platform.

While consumers will have to wait to use Amazon's body scanning feature, all the signs indicate that the retail giant is going to continue researching and investing in new technologies aiming to improve digital shopping.

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