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Health, Beauty & Fashion

See before you try with 'magic' mirror

Lazy to try on clothes while shopping? You may now try on clothes 'virtually'
The Straits Times - April 22, 2014
By: Tee Zhuo
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See before you try with 'magic' mirror A "virtual mirror" developed by A*Star at the agency's inaugural SME Day on April 21, 2014. The "virtual mirror" will allow shoppers to "try on" clothes. -- PHOTO: A*STAR

A "VIRTUAL mirror" at Jurong Point Shopping Centre will let shoppers "try on" clothes without putting them on physically.

The interactive digital display to be installed next month will also allow patrons to share photos on social media while "dressing up".

The technology, "virtual try-on", was created by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and announced yesterday at the research body's first SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) Day.

Jurong Point chief executive William Seet said that while it would not replace traditional shopping rituals of touching clothes and trying-on, it would certainly add fun to shopping.

"Customers' interest will be aroused, and it will provide our fashion retailers an additional avenue to bring their collections to the forefront."

The "mirror" uses technology similar to some smart televisions, including a video camera that captures images and shows them in real time on screen - thus forming the "reflection".

A sensor identifies objects and hand gestures, which control a cursor allowing on-screen clothing options to be selected. Software then superimposes the selected garment on the shopper's "reflection", creating the illusion that it is being worn.

Mall tenants can use "wardrobe manager" software to update the selection of clothes to be used in the display, which is likely to be placed beside the mall's customer service counter.

Another A*Star device, an image recognition system called "Snap2Tell Alive", will also be integrated into the mall's existing mobile application.

Shoppers can use smartphone cameras to scan articles or products to access interactive content.

Mr Seet said the collaboration would provide "innovative marketing channels" for the mall's tenants. Plans are also in the pipeline for a mall-wide system of image-recognising cameras to gather data such as the approximate age and gender of shoppers.

According to A*Star, up to 450 retail tenants - about 80 per cent SMEs - will benefit from the new technologies made possible with the Government's Technology Adoption Programme (TAP).

The $51 million scheme was launched last year to link technology solution providers to SMEs. It was expanded in this year's Budget to cover firms in more sectors, including health care and logistics.

About 200 companies have benefited from the programme in the last nine months.

Mr S. Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, said SMEs are a key pillar of the economy, employing 70 per cent of the workforce and contributing almost half of economic output.

He was speaking at the A*Star SME Day held at Biopolis yesterday, featuring presentations by industry experts and exhibitions by private and public agencies. Nearly 630 firms and researchers attended.

Mr Iswaran also highlighted achievements by A*Star researchers seconded through the agency's T-Up programme to various local SMEs to lead research and development (R&D) efforts.

Yesterday's event recognised their efforts with the T-Up Excellence Award, introduced in 2011.

Local award winner Joanne Teoh was a research engineer with A*Star's Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology. She worked with Facade Global Master, a local SME specialising in building facades, to develop a decorative lighting technology that can be "printed" on glass.

The firm expects the "breakthrough" technology to increase sales tenfold in the next two years, to reach more than $2 million.

A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh said the agency is committed to working with local SMEs to lift productivity, "capitalising on innovation and technology". The agency has seconded 480 researchers to 280 SMEs in the past 11 years, with a record 72 researchers and 56 firms last year.

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