Texel presents FreeFusion; a new system for 3D reconstruction of the human body which captures posture, shape and surface texture in real-time using just a single depth camera. The solution works regardless of the user’s clothing and creates a rapid and precise 3D snapshot in just a few seconds. It is currently available for Azure Kinect DK, with iOS and Android applications under development and set to be released before the end of the year.
Texel’s FreeFusion is a fusion approach to reconstructing a 3D model using free motion depth sensor data. Developers use two node graphs; the first is for displaying a human skeleton and movement, and the second is for scanning the external surface. The dual system results in a more accurate reconstruction of movement as well as the body’s geometry and shape. In the future, the surface’s measurements could also be captured in order to complement the digital fitting room solution – one of Texel’s core products.
The ability to accurately capture a moving person in 3D has been a problem for researchers for a long time. Currently, the best results are obtained using multiple angles and expensive depth cameras. The eventual goal, however, is to use a single comprehensive camera which is already available in consumer electronics, such as the latest generations of mobile phones. These systems are inexpensive, ready-to-use, and widely available suggesting that the technology will be quick to spread on the market.
Texel has developed a fast, mobile, and easy-to-use 3D scanning system which can scan people and large objects in colour and create a precise digital copy in the shortest possible time. The core product of the company is a digital fitting room which is now being tested by clients such as Marks & Spencer, s. Oliver and other retailers in several countries. The company also produces two types of 3D scanners: Portal BX and Portal MX.
Texel’s technology is rated among the top 10 3D scanners in the world by rating agency Aniwaa. In 2019, Marks & Spencer invested $200,000 in Texel and took the company aboard the Marks & Spencer and Founders Factory accelerator. Texel became the third start-up to enter their retail accelerator program under the joint venture: Founders Factory Retail.
According to Texel, the biggest problem in the fashion industry is the mismatch between real body shapes, and the sizing of clothes on sale. Overall, the share of online sales is growing, especially in the fashion industry. The main concern for consumers is the difficulty of reliably finding the correct size when buying online. When designing a collection, manufacturers use basic, average-sized mannequins and as a result, produce average-sized clothes. As a result, stores receive many return requests and incur losses from customers who are not average-sized. Technological solutions that reduce this barrier will reduce costs and increase conversion and are therefore in high demand.
The challenge is to maximize the coverage of customers with the least number of sizes: the fewer sizes brands produce, the cheaper it is for them. This approach allows them to increase the return on investment and speed up the turnover but leads to inconvenience for buyers and a high percentage of purchase returns. It also leads to missed opportunities to sell to those who are larger than the largest size, or smaller than the smallest, or whose body shape does not match the design of this brand. These missed sales cost the company significantly more than the savings of having fewer sizing options.
To address the market’s issue, Texel aims to digitalize fitting rooms. Texel’s technology enables consumers to create digital avatars using 3D scanning technology and consistently find the clothing most suitable to their shape and size.
Once created, an avatar can be used an infinite number of times, and the entire process remains free for the user. The solution comes at the expense of the retailer but will reduce returns and decrease costs overall. Brands pay Texel around $8 for attracting a new client and each use of the avatar will cost the store about $0.50.
The technology has two application scenarios. In the first case, the neural network analyses the parameters of a user, asks about his or her style preferences and offers photos of suitable pieces of clothing that are available in-store.
The second scenario is more complicated; the 3D avatar of the client tries on the 3D clothing as in a computer game. This system allows a person to try on all the store’s product lines sitting at home at a computer. This is only possible to implement in retailers that use digitally created clothes, a service which Texel also provides.