Human Solutions at the CeBIT, at the booth of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology

Human Solutions will show current development stage of Virtual Try-On at the CeBIT 2004. Cooperative project of institutes and garment sector companies to be introduced in Hall 11, Booth D32.

27.02.2004

“Virtual Try-On” is the name of the cooperative project that HUMAN SOLUTIONS GmbH is presently coordinating. The project is among the winners of the ideas competition “Virtual and Augmented Reality”.

The Federal Minister for Education and Research, Edelgard Bulmahn, kick-started the competition in February 2000. From the 173 projects entered, a jury selected 15 to advance to the project furtherance stage and Virtual Try-On was among those chosen. Competition sponsor is the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (German Center for Air and Space Travel) (DLR). This virtual reality project is meant to boost the effort to create more short and long-term high-tech jobs in Germany.

Within the framework of this project, Human Solutions, working with several partners from diverse sectors, developed a new technology that links customized clothing manufacture with the potential of E-Commerce. To this end, well-known institutes and companies are working hand-in-hand: the HUMAN SOLUTIONS GmbH, the University of Tübingen, the Frauenhofer-Gesellschaft Darmstadt (Department of Animation and Image Communication), the University of Bonn, the Hohenstein Institute for Clothing Physiology e.V. (BPI), the German Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Kaiserslautern), Cove & Co (Düsseldorf) and the Odermark Clothing Works.

New dimensions in individual mass production

Virtual shops for textiles and clothing – that’s the objective of the Virtual Try-On project. This in turn means a seamless process chain, from the virtualization of the customer by means of automated body measurement with 3D laser scanners to photo-realistic three-dimensional representation of the virtual customer in the desired item of clothing, culminating in the generation of data that enables the manufacture of the customized clothing – and let’s not forget the connection to the Internet - this new technology offers the garment sector the opportunity to open up the individualized mass production market.

The role of HUMAN SOLUTIONS in this chain is to develop new methods and technology, enabling the customer to be virtualized and the item of clothing to be visualized – just how the customer wants it and in a manner in which the garment industry can implement it. Virtual Try-On can be used in the clothing store and at the customer's home PC via the Internet.

Virtual Reality in a real sales department

The 3D Body Scanner stands in the real-world retail store – the Scanner captures the body surfaces of the customer electronically. The result is the so-called "individual figurine“. This forms the basis for the automated analysis of body measurements and for the later image showing the figurine with the desired items of clothing. The linking of the customer's preferences, (model type, color, accessories, etc.) to the body measurement data activates the virtual construction process - the computer creates CAD models of the desired items in which the figurine of the customer is then clothed - in 3D, and using special simulation techniques. The customer can see the life-size result from all sides on a new type of display - the "virtual mirror". He can experiment with and 'try on' various options (like fit, accessories, color, etc.) at this stage. After the customer has made his final choices, the computer generates the order for customized clothing manufacture and transmits it to the production facility.

The Virtual Shop on the Internet

The customer can also use the scan data from the shop to purchase clothing on the Internet: His individual figurine is stored in a database and can be called up via the Internet at any time. The customers first loads his figurine and can then 'try on' various items of clothing in 3D. The graphical imagery is matched to his computer's capabilities. When the customer has selected an item, he then orders it on the Internet.

Virtual Try-On opens up new perspectives

Customers, retailers and manufacturers alike profit from this new technology. Unlike previous clothing purchases via the Internet, this time the customer knows that what he ordered will exactly match his requirements and fit him perfectly. Tedious trying-on and repeated returning of garments can now be dispensed with. The customer has ultimately seen himself in the new garment(s), from all sides and angles - either in his own home or at the clothier’s - and - no clothing catalog can give him a true impression of how the material moves and interacts - he can move his individual figurine around and see just how the fabric falls, drapes and flows – whether it’s light silk or heavier wool.

The trade can now ascertain and match customer needs exactly, thanks to Virtual Try-On - wrong orders and unnecessary warehousing will be considerably reduced. In addition, targeted and individual offers enable personal customer contact and a better service.

'Manufacture on demand' prevents expensive production line errors – and in the long term, manufacturers can now optimally adapt their collections to actual and future market needs, thanks to the database of customer data acquired - and that means competitive advantages and costs savings.

The Shopping of the Future

It’s like a scene on the Holodeck of the U.S.S. Enterprise - you go into a boutique to buy a suit - but instead of the sales person showing you into a changing room, you're led into a Body Scanner. Now your measurements are taken - and the tiresome task of trying-on is taken over by your digital twin, the "individual figurine". You can see yourself, life-size and in 3D and can now 'try on' the clothes using the figurine. Is the material sitting right on the shoulders? You turn the figurine, move it around. Maybe a stronger color would suit you better? OK, why not try that out too? Make the jacket a size bigger, maybe? No sooner said than done – and when you've got the suit just how you want it, it'll be ordered. A few days later your made-to-measure suit will be delivered to you. Futuristic, yes - but practical too!

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