Amazon lifts online fashion game via VR mirror patent filing

Amazon has filed a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a virtual reality mirror, offering a blended reality view to users for "entertainment and other purposes," which includes trying on clothes.

Amazon's blended reality mirror - USPTO

The patent application explains that "unique visual displays can enhance the experiences of users." It goes on to say, "blended reality can can be used to provide a visual representation of items, such as clothes, without the user actually wearing the physical item."

According to Amazon's virtual mirror patent application, a technology called "Pepper's ghost" uses illusory technology to superimpose a virtual object over another layer. Users will be able to adjust lighting and angles of viewing for an accurate virtual fitting room experience.

The abstract of the patent application explains that "projectors can be used to illuminate objects in front of the mirror so that the illuminated objects are reflected by the mirror."

Blended reality is achieved by combining the portions of the screen transmitted through the mirror and the illuminated objects reflected by the mirror.

While beauty companies have expanded their virtual reality and augmented reality partnerships, apparel companies have been slow to integrate AR and VR into their operations. As one fashion tech consultant noted, "Amazon is a threat to the fashion industry because it’s a technology that the fashion industry ought to be embracing in a big way and they’re not. It's not the future, it's here."

Amazon first filed a blended reality systems and methods patent in 2015. Virtual reality intellectual property is an asset for both Amazon Fashion and its gaming verticals. The current application clearly pertains to fashion.

Amazon Fashion first experimented with consumer facing VR with an enhanced fitting room experience with 2017's Echo Look. Echo Look was a $200 hands free camera designed to offer voice commanded photo and video recording that launched April of last year.

Amazon Fashion continues to grow with exclusive brand partnerships such as Drew Barrymore's Dear Drew line as well as through expanded private label offerings ranging from active to kids categories. It also offers its Prime members a subscription box service.

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