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Adobe envisions an AR shopping future

The software company is creating augmented-reality models for retailers.

A look at Adobe's early work creating virtual models for AR shopping.
Adobe/Volumetric models by Visual Media Lab at the University of Surrey's Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing

Someday you may be able to make a 3D scan of your body using your phone, then get the virtual you to try on new clothes and walk around your living room wearing them.

That concept is the guiding star for Adobe's early work to meld augmented reality and shopping. To help kick off its Adobe Summit conference, the software company showed me a prototype demo of an AR male model walking across a real-life conference room, as well as virtual spaces like a hotel lobby and a wooded hiking path.

The idea was to show online shoppers the actual fit, look and movement of clothing, and also let them see pieces in more backgrounds.

There's still plenty more work to do, such as improving the lighting and shading of the models and movement of the clothing. But Adobe is hoping this project will bring online clothing shopping a little closer to the real thing in stores, giving customers more information on the pieces they're interested in.

For retailers, this effort could cut down on online returns by helping buyers make better purchasing decisions and also boost retailers' sales by getting people to mix and match looks online, said Roger Woods, director of mobile product and strategy for Adobe Experience Cloud.

Adobe isn't the only company adding AR to shopping. Last month, Warby Parker introduced Virtual Try-On, which uses an iPhone's augmented-reality capabilities and selfie camera to put a digital pair of glasses on your face. Wayfair and Amazon already use AR in their apps to help people test out the look and size of furniture in their homes before buying.

Adobe said it's still testing its work with some retailers (it wouldn't say who) and it's a long way away from letting folks create their own personalized virtual models. But it's hoping this early work gets it one step closer to an AR shopping future.


Adobe's project currently includes one male and one female virtual model.

Adobe/Volumetric models by Visual Media Lab at the University of Surrey's Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing