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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Robot of the Day: Fitbot, Shape-shifting Robot Lets You Try Clothes Before You Buy

Ever wondered how a shirt or dress looked good on you when YOU wear it? Mirrors in fitting rooms don't really tell you the entire story. And things get worse if you are buying from a catalog by phone or order one online. Thanks to robotics technology, your wish might be coming true. Before I say anything else, check out this video below.

The robot is the female version of the FitBot, a shape-shifting robot mannequin created by, an online clothing store. The company also has a male version.

In many past occasions, we have been lured into buying dresses from catalogs or online stores because the dresses looked wonderful in the pictures but turned disastrous when we put the actual clothes on. What was the problem? The answer is simple: we are no models. That's why those beautiful models get paid big $$$s to put these clothes on and look beautiful in the pictures. But we had to jump through all kinds of hoops to return the dresses and get refunds. We are not alone.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could see how the dress would look on me, not that beautiful model? Wouldn't it be nice if I could see how the dress looks like when I walk around and get into different body postures with the dress on? The answer to the problem: robot! Using servo motors, the FitBot can actually change its shape into your body shape based on your own body measurements.

Now before you get all excited about the many possibilities, that's not how the robot is used at the present time. The retailer actually enumerates all the possible (humanly possible, that is) body shapes with the robot with each dress and then take many photos. These photos are made available through the web site, so after you enter your body measurements, the photos with those body measurements would be shown to you so you know how the clothes would look like if you had worn it.

Well, don't get too disappointed, this is at least a step closer. I could almost envision how it works in the future: After you log into your account with the online store, the system automatically loads your body shape measurements into one of the waiting mannequin robots. Then the robot will retrieve the dress you are interested in, put it on, and then get into various poses for you. You can probably even pose yourself, and a camera on your computer will recognize the pose and send that to the robot to imitate. The robot can slowly rotates around so you can see the full 360 degrees view. There might even be an added benefit: when you see how gross you look no matter what pose your use and what clothes you put on, you might have more incentive to get off your ass, walk away from your computer and try to get rid of some of those fat.

Anyway, glad to see another innovative way of using robotics technology to solve real-world problems. You can read this article for more details if you like. I am going to get off my lazy ass, walk away from my computer to do some exercise now! Ciao!

I am so glad drinking coke is not against the Honor Code of the university.