The awkward process of being measured by a tailor may soon be replaced by a slightly less awkward process performed by a high-end sensor – probably one built by Microsoft. The current generation of Microsoft's XBox game console, which incorporates Kinect range camera technology, can read heart rates, recognize faces across the room, and inform users when they're screwing up yoga poses. And stylish engineers are putting that tech to work, using the sensors to create systems that can virtually take your real measurement.
Styku is one company using the Kinect in the dressing room (and not in a creepy way). Their MeasureMe system is a 3D body scanner that uses only a single 3D depth sensor, is highly portable, and inexpensive. "Our BML (body markers library) is a full feature recognition, marker and measurement extraction tool that can accurately extract hundreds of measurements," says CEO Raj Sareen. "MeasureMe is targeted to the Made-to-Measure market, and is currently being beta tested by dozens of high-profile custom suit, shirts, and dress makers around the world." MeasureMe already counts Brooks Brothers, Arvind, and Entre Donovan as customers.
Styku also operate FitFyle, a consumer-driven platform for clothing retailers that provides accurate size and fit prediction technology to online stores. "We leverage the world's largest collection of user data on brand and fit preference to decode the unique sizing and fit characteristics of thousands of brands," says CEO Raj Sareen, adding that 50 percent fewer customers send back clothes purchased with the aid of FitFyle. Styku now uses algorithms for mass market product and Kinect for high-end experiences.
Arden Reed, which has installed a Kinect-based scanning system in their Tailor Truck, which drives around New York, plans on sticking with the technology because it is easy to deploy and their product is only as good as it is customized.
"We make it ridiculously easy for a guy to become the best dressed man in the room," says co-founder Carlos Solorio. "We avoid all the sticking points of traditional shopping, from time spent to the actual process of buying a suit." Solorio says this all makes for a speedier experience. Suits arrive in between four and six weeks and the company has just starting making custom shirts.
Solorio says we're not going to have XBox doing this for us in our living room tomorrow because movement can lead to inaccurate results. But with companies like Styku working on it, it probably won't be long before the concept of "trying it on" sounds quaint and antiquated.