The application, built in collaboration with Google and San Francisco-based startup Avametric, uses augmented reality to let shoppers "try on" clothes without having to step into a store. After you add information such as her height and weight, DressingRoom places a virtual 3D model in front of you and lets you see how different items would fit. If you like the way a garment looks on you, or at least looks on the mannequin based on your measurements, you can purchase it directly from the app. While retailers have been experimenting with virtual try-ons for years, Gap is among the first to add an AR twist to the idea.
As compelling as the idea may be, it does have its limitations. For starters, it's exclusive to Google Tango smartphones, and right now there are barely any of those available. So far, there's only Lenovo's Phab2 Pro, and ASUS isn't expected to release its ZenFone AR until later this year. Gap says that for the time being, it's focused only on making its application work on Google's augmented-reality platform. That's great news for the search giant, which needs more willing partners like Gap in order for Tango to be a success.
The other issue is that some people, myself included, would prefer to physically try on the clothes before making a decision. I'm probably not the only person who feels this way, although as a techie I'm curious to give it a shot. Avametric, whose tech powers the app, says it's already working with other brands and retailers on similar projects, but, unfortunately, the company couldn't disclose much beyond that.
When asked why choose AR over VR to build DressingRoom, Avametric CEO Ari Bloom suggested augmented reality has a gentler learning curve. He says the hardware and software required for virtual reality has more "immediate barriers," because you have to learn new behaviors to interact with things around you. Mixed reality, meanwhile, continues to be an appealing technology for many developers, with the success of Pokémon Go being perhaps the most prominent example.