October 5, 2017
Amazon has acquired 3D body-model startup Body Labs for a reported $50-$70 million, although some sources say the figure could exceed $100 million. New York-based Body Labs specializes in true-to-life 3D models that are ideal for B2B software applications, including the creation of photorealistic avatars for gaming and virtual approaches for consumers to try on clothing. The latter should be of particular interest to e-commerce giant Amazon. The online retailer could use the scanning and modeling tech to help shoppers select fashion purchases ideal for their body types.
“Video demos on Body Labs’ website show its tech being used to augment a human with digital content as the person moves around by cladding them in a full-body gaming avatar ‘suit’ or adding boxing gloves and bunny slippers to a dancing man,” reports TechCrunch.
“Body Labs also says its ‘SOMA Shape API’ can be used to ‘accurately predict and measure the 3D shape of your customers using just a single image,’ suggesting this can power ‘custom apparel’ or be used by fashion e-commerce retailers wanting to offer sizing recommendations.”
Amazon has recently been introducing its own fashion brands, and offering custom fit features could generate additional interest from shoppers. (It could also save Amazon money in purchase returns.)
“We may not see a consumer-facing feature in Amazon apps or devices using Body Labs technology immediately, but Amazon will likely use the startup’s expertise to gather fashion data,” suggests Ars Technica. “Fit and sizing data is crucial to fashion companies for developing patterns and styles — the more data Amazon has about its customers’ bodies, the easier it will be for the company to make its fashion offerings better and more accurately tailored to each customer.”
The Body Labs tech could also serve other areas such as health and fitness tracking and equipment design and manufacturing as well as VR and AR gaming.
According to TechCrunch, “CEO Jeff Bezos has long listed fashion as one of two key areas he sees underpinning his sizable ambitions for Amazon’s ecommerce empire (food being the other). The company also has big extant interests in another potential area where Body Labs’ tech could fit: gaming.”