Manhattan-based body modeling company Body Labs raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by Intel Capital. The company, founded in 2013, offers a suite of services surrounding high quality 3D body models. Among them is the Body Snap service using the Microsoft Kinect to easily scan a person in 3D.
While the company’s main market seems to be retail — “Forward-looking companies can now confidently design and deliver products and services that are specifically suited for their customers’ particular body shapes,” co-founder and CEO Bill O’Farrell is quoted as saying in a press release — the company’s technology could be useful for a wide range of mixed reality applications. Imagine trying on clothes in a virtual changing room and looking in the mirror to see how an outfit looks on the shape of your particular body, or customizing the outfit so it looks better before getting it shipped to your house.
“Mass customization around human body shape is fast becoming a reality,” O’Farrell is quoted as saying.
The company plans to use the investment to “aggressively grow the company” while collaborating with Intel, which has invested in a number of VR-related companies. All the major technology players including Microsoft, Apple, Google and Intel are developing or buying 3D sensor technology.
Intel’s technology is called RealSense and the chip giant is promoting it as a new way of interacting with computers. While 3D-sensing technology is highly useful for some applications it can be limited in many ways, including working in different lighting conditions or detecting fine finger movements. Scanning a person’s body shape, however, and then making use of that 3D model to drive healthcare or shopping applications in VR could open up a world of highly useful apps in the near future.
It will be interesting to see if e-commerce giants (like Amazon) start looking at technology like Body Labs. After all, if you can buy an outfit that looks better on your body without having to leave the house it could be game over for big box retail.