Tuesday, February 15, 2011

eBay Fashion and Augmented Reality

We talked about augmented reality briefly with our Geek Video of the month, and here it is again! EBay has had huge success with its mobile e-commerce and now they’re trying their luck with something new; the release of their Augmented Reality upgrade to the eBay Fashion App last month.

The app is broken down into two main components; the ‘See it now’, as shown above, allows the user to take a photo of themselves, resize different styles of sunglasses to their face and then track the movement of their head, rendering the sunglasses appropriately.

For clothing, the ‘Outfit Builder’ allows users to designate favourite pieces of clothing and save them to their virtual closet. Using a photo of themselves the users can then mix and match clothing over the top of their photo as they please. Once the outfit is created, it can then be saved and shared amongst friends via email.

EBay is by no means the first large company to put together an augmented reality app; when it comes to clothing JCPenny and H&M have both had their respective apps on the market since late 2010. However eBay's venture into the market of augmented reality is one of the most technical so far, using the more conventional approach of real time streaming and rendering.

So what advantage does an app such as this offer the company? When it comes to clothing, one of the huge drawbacks of online shopping is the inability to see how the clothes look on you; and augmented reality could be just the ticket to solve that. Of course, there’s still quite a few kinks to iron out first and augmented reality will never truly replicate going to a shop yourself and physically handling goods.

For the moment, it remains to be seen whether eBay’s venture into augmented reality really hits off, or becomes just a passing gimmick. Nonetheless, given the exponential increase in the capabilities of the average phone and an ever growing uptake in the popularity of the smartphone, I don't think it's too unlikely that we'll be seeing more and more of these augmented reality mobile apps and this makes the Flashlight team at Rocktime extremely excited.

Author: Alice Cheetham


Post a Comment