You try on that fleece hoodie jacket, but it doesn’t fit. No need to return it to the rack — if you’re doing your clothes shopping on eBay, the new owner of a virtual fitting room.
On Wednesday, the shopping giant announced that it has purchased PhiSix Fashion Labs, a Bay Area-based computer-graphics company that has developed technology enabling customers to see how clothes fit and look without having to go through the trouble of, you know, actually buttoning them up or slipping them on. Terms of the deal were not made public.
Using photos, pattern files, and other sources to assist in determining garment behavior, PhiSix can create what it describes as “physically accurate simulations” of the clothes, with options for different fabric patterns. When it has your basic body measurements, the system can recommend a size.
Virtual fitting rooms are not new, but they’ve not yet been a hit.
PhiSix can also simulate how the fabric hangs just so while walking down the street or hitting a golf ball.
For those nongolfers among us, a perfect swing in our soon-to-be hoodie jacket would be priceless.
But it’s not just for those wanting to test out new fall clothes while hovering over a keyboard in their pajamas. The technology can work in actual stores.
Steve Yankovich, the vice president of eBay’s Innovation and New Ventures unit, told VentureBeat that the goal is to integrate the PhiSix technology across eBay this year. This includes, he said, “exploring how this technology can be used offline for our retail partners.”
Launched in 2012, PhiSix founder and CEO Jonathan Su is a former Intel research scientist with a background in simulation technologies used by such studios as ILM and DreamWorks. Su and two other computer science engineers will join eBay.
Yankovich also left open the possibility that eBay could extend the technology beyond just trying on clothes.
So, in the not-too-distant future, eBay might be the site you visit to find out how your new outfit looks while you’re busting a move or, afterward, how well you sink into that overstuffed chair.