Virtual Mirror lets you change the clothes prints and colors
As we announced in our previous article we’re going to write about another digital “mirror” that offers us an opportunity to try out different patterns of the clothes you wear. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut (HHI) have developed a magic mirror that takes the stress out of trying on new clothes. You simply have to choose one T-shirt or a shirt, and the Virtual Mirror will show you wearing a range of different designs, without having to take off one to try on another.
“The principle is similar to the virtual shoe-fitting mirror that we developed last year for the Adidas flagship store in Paris,” said Anna Hilsmann of the HHI. “But it is somewhat more difficult to create a realistic impression of T-shirts, shirts or sweaters in a virtual mirror. These items of clothing develop folds that partially distort the image depending how the wearer moves about.”
The customer stands in front of a display that has a camera mounted above it. By filming the person, the camera registers the way their clothing flows and moves. To change clothes, the logo on a T-shirt might be replaced with a different, virtual design, for example. To make the image in the magic mirror appear as realistic as possible, the folds and creases in the clothes actually worn by the user are reproduced in the virtual representation, even when the user is moving about. The shadows and lighting effects seen in the virtual mirror are also identical to those on the real person.
That effect is possible by an algorithm calculating the spatial parameters of the projected image on the basis of a two-dimensional model. This reduces the number of dimensions needed to simulate the image and allows us to rapidly evaluate any movements. The 2D model consists of a closely meshed network of triangular fields. This is sufficient to predict any changes. The system is also capable to predict the direction in which the fabric is capable of stretching or flowing. To allow the virtual image to reflect these changes as realistically as possible, the apexes of the triangles can be displaced independently of one another.
The camera shoots frames at intervals of a few milliseconds and transmits them to a memory unit. Here, the images are analyzed to determine what changes have taken place between successive frames. To do so, a triangular meshwork is superimposed on each frame, employing a technique commonly used in computer graphics. Since the content of the triangular fields doesn’t necessarily change from one frame to the next, the system only compares those fields where changes have actually taken place. This information is used to create a new virtual image of the item of clothing, incorporating the new logo.
Consequently, users have the impression that the image reflected in the display follows every movement they make, including the way this affects the folds and creases in the clothes they are wearing, just like a real mirror. A touch screen allows shoppers to choose different styles and colors of the garment they have selected, helping them to decide which color or design suits them best. “Shoes and clothes are just the first stage,” remarks Anna Hilsmann. “The virtual mirror could also be used to help customers select eyewear or jewelry.”
Unlike Magical Mirror, the Virtual Mirror processes images in real time, thus offering true Augmented Reality. However, the same advantage is its downside, since you have to wear the green fabric shaped as the shape of the clothes you would like to try on (imagine all the clothe sizes and various clothing shapes needed in real world application). Future algorithms ought to be able to overcome this problem
With the usage of these sorts of systems many reluctant shoppers are likely to be relieved by the simplicity this brings to the task of buying new clothes. Only time will tell which companies will become dominant in this promising and yet unexploited market.