We mentioned Zugara's neat augmented reality clothes shopping experiment before--noting how cool it could make online shopping by letting you try out virtual clothes. Well, it's an experiment no more: Online fashion store Tobi has launched it for real.
It has been redubbed Fashionista (much better than the original Webcam Social Shopper) and it works pretty much how you'd think it would: When you've chosen an item of clothing you like the look of, you print out a special AR barcode-like tag and hold it up in front of you while you stand before your Webcam. Zugara's software then displays an image of the clothing you're interested in superimposed on your body. By maneuvering the AR tag around you can position the apparel exactly how you want it to match your body--so you get to see a rough image of what you'd look like wearing the actual garment.
It doesn't stop there: You can take a snapshot of what you look like, and the system includes motion-capture so you can make gestures and selections by waving your arms, much as you do when using Sony's Eye toy on the PlayStation. You can also give the clothes a thumbs up or thumbs down so it can recommend more for you--something a bit like a physical version of Amazon's "you might also like" service (or a live personal shopper). And, of course, you can buy the items you select. Not content with using one hot-topic technology, Zugara has also given Fashionista a dash of social media interactivity--you can post the snapshots you take onto Facebook, presumably to garner the opinion of your friends. Or you can add them to your profile on the site where your shopper friends can comment.
The upshot is that you get an online equivalent of taking your pals to the mall to check out some new threads, all from the comfort of your own PC and with a little added zing of social media. Sure, you'll miss out on the face-to-face chatter with your friends, the tasty frapuccinos, and the ability to twirl in a new dress...but it's the future, right?