Macy's mirror lets your reflection try on clothes

The fashion retailer jumps onto the augmented-reality shopping bandwagon with a 72-inch multitouch mirror that lets shoppers hang clothes on their virtual selves.

Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
2 min read
Magic Mirror
"So, how does the virtual me look in that shirt?" (Click to enlarge.) Macy's

Clothes shoppers wanting to experience the 21st-century version of dress-up have until November to try on the new Macy's Magic Fitting Room in the retail chain's New York's Herald Square flagship store.

The company is showing off a 72-inch mirror display that enables you to superimpose clothing on your reflection. The mirror features a multitouch screen that lets you select items such as tops, dresses, bottoms, and coats. After making a choice, the item covers your reflection, making it look like you're actually wearing the garb. Swimming in that shirt? Simply touch the mirror to take it down a size.

Macy's calls the Magic Fitting Room the future of retail, and this does seem to be the case, as more retailers adopt augmented-reality solutions for clothing and shoes. Then, of course, there's the shape-shifting robo-mannequin we told you about recently that lets shoppers enter their body measurements online (height, chest, arm length, torso, type, and so on), then see photos of a mannequin shaped just like them "trying on" the item they're eyeing in different sizes and styles.

Macy's tapped marketing company LBi International to create the mirror, and it made the experience even more interactive with an iPad app that lets customers "flick" clothing selections from the app to the display. LBi notes that "[Apple's] iOS 4 and the mirror's Windows 7 .Net WPF Gesture Control play beautifully together." Who would have thought a mirror could bring a small sense of harmony to Apple and Microsoft?

This virtual dress-up tool is also a social experience, as the mirror allows you to share looks on Facebook, or via SMS or e-mail. I can already imagine a future in which my girlfriend has to approve my outfits on Facebook before we meet up.