Amazon have patented a new way to try on clothes at home – a ‘magic’ mirror which can be turned pixel by pixel into a projected image enabling parts of the image to display reality whilst the other part displays pretty much anything you like… including the clothes you want to try on.
The patent dated 2nd January describes ‘Blended reality systems and methods‘ and as well as the ability to try on clothes can also change the background so that for instance if you’re trying on a swimsuit you can see yourself at the seaside or if you’re checking out a little black dress you can see yourself on the dance room floor.
The idea behind such a system is nothing new, Amazon refer in their patent to the famous ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ magic trick where a mirror is used to reflect ghosts or other objects from a hidden space into a room that the audience can see. Pepper’s Ghost used mirrors to project the images whereas Amazon propose using electronic wizardry to achieve a similar effect which of course is massively more flexible.
With as much as 40% of online clothing purchases being returned, anything that can reduce returns is going to make an immediate impact on retailers’ profit margins. The patent describes how you could see yourself actually wearing your prospective outfit in the mirror before it even shipped from the warehouse.
Amazon have applied for many patents over the years, some of which will probably remain pure fantasy such as the notion of dumping stock into a water reservoir and remotely activating flotation devices to bring products to the surface as and when they are sold. The magic mirror patent however would be hugely valuable to Amazon if it could increase sales and reduce returns so this is one idea that might actually have legs.
This is not a totally new idea for Amazon, their latest Echo Look device is already billed as a Style Assistant which can give you a second opinion on your outfit. With Echol Look you simply submit two photos for a second opinion on which outfit looks best on you based on fit, colour, styling, and current trends. Imagine instead of telling you which clothes suit you best that Amazon could make product recommendations and show you wearing a new jacket over your favourite top and place the image of you in your favourite restaurant – that’s the end game for Amazon’s blended reality systems and methods patent.