COMPUTER vision experts at the University of Surrey are developing a groundbreaking web-based system that takes detailed measurements of the body that could revolutionise online shopping.
The shopper would download the software to their webcam or smartphone, which works like a 'virtual' tape measure, taking accurate waist, hip, chest and other measurements to advise the customer what size to buy.
Staff at the London College of Fashion, body-mapping specialists Bodymetrics and digital creative agency Guided are all involved in the design.
Professor Adrian Hilton, of the University of Surrey, said: "It's unrealistic to expect online clothes shoppers to have the time or inclination to take a series of highly accurate body measurements of themselves. The new system makes it all very easy."
As the software takes quick, multiple measurements of the body, the system ensures the best possible fit and will therefore save shoppers millions of pounds each year in return postage costs.
The new system takes measurements at a number of different points of the body to build up a detailed 3D image, to give a more accurate size than anything else available in-store or online.
Once shoppers find an item they are interested in, they will click to activate the software, stand in front of their webcam or smartphone, take a photo, type in their height, and the software will do the rest. The photo will remain confidential and is not shared on the internet.
Philip Delamore, of the London College of Fashion, said: "The potential benefits for the fashion industry and for shoppers are huge.
"Currently, it's common for online shoppers to order two or three different sizes of the same item of clothing at the same time, as they're unsure which one will fit best."