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CES 2012: Virtual dressing room eliminates need to take off your clothes

January 11, 2012 | 10:42 am

Remember Cher's virtual closet from "Clueless," the one that helped the fashionable teen choose her outfits by digitally placing the clothes on an image of her body? Now you can have a better version of it.

At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, a Calabasas company was giving demonstrations of Swivel, a real-time virtual dressing room that takes a lot of the hassle out of shopping -- no more long waits in the fitting room line loaded down with an armful of clothes, or the tedious process of getting dressed and undressed several times during one trip to the mall.

To use the Swivel system, which works by utilizing motion-sensing technology, stand a few feet in front of a webcam or Microsoft Kinect device. A live image of yourself will appear on a connected television or computer screen, along with a selection of categories like clothing, jewelry and handbags.

Select a category -- say, dresses -- by waving your hand over it. A lineup of gowns will appear on the right-hand panel; another wave of the arm selects the dress you want to try on and digitally overlays it over the live image of yourself.

Turn to the side and the dress will move with you; the product takes into account your unique body type, and items appear to be form-fitting. You can layer accessories onto the look by selecting necklaces and belts, or change the background image to a red carpet or city scene to put the look into context. The Swivel system also gives users outfit recommendations and enables them to send an image of the final look to their friends for approval.

FaceCake Marketing Technologies, which created Swivel using proprietary software, hopes the system will be used by retailers, in malls and at home.

FaceCake recently did a mall tour in Southern California to debut the system to shoppers. The average shopper tried on 66% of the items available, or about 45 products, far more than he or she would typically try on in a physical dressing room, said FaceCake Chief Executive Linda Smith.

"It's a virtual dressing room that makes things easy," she said during a demo for The Times at CES in Las Vegas. "It really puts the whole store in a little six-foot area."

With retailers' merchandise selections changing daily, Smith said the Swivel system would update its merchandise content regularly to give users the most up-to-date products. 

Swivel will be available later this year for consumers for in-home use and FaceCake is in discussions with a national mall operator to put Swivel in shopping centers, Smith said. A handful of retailers, including Banana Republic and Nordstrom, signed on for the mall tour, allowing their merchandise to be featured in the system.

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-- Andrea Chang in Las Vegas

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