eBay acquires PhiSix, which lets users try on 3D clothes virtually

The e-commerce giant may soon let online shoppers virtually "try on" jeans, dresses, shirts, and other clothing to see how they fit and move.

What PhiSix's technology looks like. eBay

While online shopping can make buying the latest gear easier, there are some downsides -- like not being able to try on clothes.

eBay appears to be all too aware of this issue, especially when it comes to item returns. In an effort to make it easier for shoppers and to cut down on returns, the e-commerce giant announced on Wednesday that it acquired 3D virtual clothing try-on company PhiSix.

PhiSix is a computer graphics company that creates 3D models of jeans, button-up shirts, dresses, and other clothing from photos, pattern files, and other sources. These models simulate how a piece of clothing looks on different sized people.

"PhiSix's technology enables consumers to understand the fit and movement of clothes in an online shopping environment," eBay vice president of Innovation and New Ventures Steve Yankovich said in a statement. "Consumers can experience the merchandise in a more efficient and impactful way, which we believe will drive sales for retailers and create a delightful experience for shoppers."

Not only can users see how an item will fit, but the technology also recommends sizes for people based on their measurements. PhiSix can be used on all sorts of devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

PhiSix was founded in 2012 by former Intel research scientist Jonathan Su. His background is in special effects and he has worked for major Hollywood companies, like ILM and DreamWorks, to simulate human behavior and movement. eBay plans to use the PhiSix technology both online and in physical stores.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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