Amazon just invented a virtual mirror that lets you try on digital clothes
Hypothetically, you could try on a store's worth of clothes without ever leaving the house.
Amazon has patented a blended-reality mirror that will let its owner virtually try on clothing. Hypothetically, a viewer could see how various outfits look from the comfort of their own homes.
The patent, spotted by GeekWire, could be the online shopping giant's latest move against its retail competition. Surveys have shown that the ability to interact with a product before purchasing it is a major reason shoppers prefer brick-and-mortar. While the blended reality mirror wouldn't allow a user to feel the cotton on a new top, it might be the next best thing.
The patent cites teleprompters, amusement park rides and the illusion effect known as "Pepper's Ghost" as inspirations. The hypothetical mirror would use cameras, projectors, displays, mirrors and lights to show the user their new outfits without needing to put on any cumbersome AR/VR headwear. The mirror would "generate a blended reality view by controlling the amount of light transmitted through a mirror and the amount of light reflected from the mirror."
To get to a place where a user sees clothing options, the hypothetical device could be "configured to project an image or light from targeted pixels and project relatively little light at other pixels." The mirror could even allow users to imagine themselves in other places, changing the background environment in the mirror. The patent uses an example of trying on a t-shirt and imagining what it would look like at the beach as an example.
Of course, the mirror itself may just be a mirage. Amazon has a long history of eye-catching patents, from drones powering electric cars to blimp warehouses to underwater warehouses. The company may never touch its magic mirror or its other patents at all.
But the patent comes only a few months after Amazon's purchase of Body Labs, a company which specialised in 3D scanning and modeling the human body. And before that, there was the version of Alexa with a focus on fashion. If the mirror shows up or not, the patent is a clear sign that Amazon is slowing down the fight for clothing customers.