Ebay has acquired computer graphic company PhiSix for an undisclosed amount, with the hopes of creating 3D models of clothing for shoppers who want to try on virtually garments for sale through its online marketplace.
Jonathan Su, a former DreamWorks contributor who earned a PhD in computer science from Stanford University, founded PhiSix in 2012. The company's technology can compose 3D models of clothing from "photos, pattern files and other sources and simulates the behaviour of the garments", according to eBay. It adds that consumers could use PhiSix to see how clothes "fit, look and move in different environments without actually having to try them on".
Su and two computer science engineers from PhiSix will join Ebay's Innovation and New Ventures team as part of the PhiSix acquisition. Ebay said PhiSix's technology will likely be used across a range of devices and that it might be added to Ebay's entire portfolio to "enable a more immersive and compelling user experience so consumers can make informed choices whether at home or in a store".
Ebay intends to integrate PhiSix into its marketplace by introducing virtual dressing rooms, where shoppers can determine the fit and look of garments with physically accurate simulations. All you'll need to do is type in your measurements, and then a 3D model will appear with whatever garment you choose. You'll even be able to view the clothes in different scenarios, such as walking down the street, rather than just standing in a room.
"PhiSix’s technology enables consumers to understand the fit and movement of clothes in an online shopping environment,” said Steve Yankovich, vice-president of Innovation and New Ventures of eBay Inc. “Consumers can experience the merchandise in a more efficient and impactful way, which we believe will drive sales for retailers and create a delightful experience for shoppers.”
The video above - from Ebay - shows PhiSix in action. It reminds us of the Fits.me mannequin. Estonian software company Fits.me created a solution in 2010 that asked a customer to input their vital statistics, and then an on-screen mannequin built to those exact proportions would appear, allowing a user to see what different sizes would look like on their exact frame.