Oct 5, 2017 | By Benedict

International online shopping giant Amazon has acquired New York City startup Body Labs, a specialist in 3D body scanning. The deal may have cost between $50 million and $70 million.

3D scanning startups might be small fry to Amazon, a company that earlier this year bought high-end supermarket Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Nonetheless, Amazon’s acquisition of New York’s Body Labs could have interesting consequences for its fashion operations.

"Exciting news! We've been acquired by Amazon,” Body Labs wrote on its website. “We look forward to innovating on behalf of customers.”

Body Labs’ 3D scanning technology is used to capture human motion and shape in 3D, which makes it suitable for applications like clothes fitting and video game development.

Body Labs' 3D scanning tech could be used to improve the Amazon Echo Look

For the former, companies can use Body Labs tech to analyze the unique contours of a customer’s body, fitting them with the right outfit for their shape. For the latter, unique avatars can be created for individual gamers.

Amazon has not yet disclosed how it will use Body Labs, though the Seattle-headquartered company has a large stake in the fashion business, meaning the New York startup’s 3D scanning tech could feasibly be used to take online clothes retail to the next level.

In line with this theory, Amazon recently launched its Prime Wardrobe service, which involves sending Amazon Prime customers a box full of clothes to try on. Items they don’t like can be returned free of charge.

Body Labs' website announces the good news

Even closer to Body Labs terrain is Amazon’s Echo Look, a camera-equipped version of the popular Amazon Echo IoT system. The Echo Look is equipped with a feature that helps customers try on clothes that suit them. It is, however, only equipped with a regular camera, and cannot analyze the shape of a customer in the same way that 3D scanning can.

Details about how the relationship will work have not yet been disclosed, nor have the financial terms of the deal. Estimates suggest the buyout could be worth between $50 million and $70 million, with Body Labs previously raising $13.2 million in funding, including $8 million in a Series A round.

In March 2016, Body Labs supplemented its existing 3D scanning technology with the acquisition of several U.S. 3D scanning patents and licenses. Two of the 3D scanning patents had been issued to Brown University, while Body Labs also obtained licenses to new technologies from Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH.

"These exclusive patents and licenses enable us to unlock unprecedented personalization across the entire human body and ensure our technology is more accessible than ever to a growing list of industries," William O'Farrell, co-founder and CEO of Body Labs, said at the time.

Body Labs' 3D scanning tech can be used to virtually try on clothes

Body Labs, which was founded in 2013, recently released its SOMA Shape API, a tool designed to “accurately predict and measure the 3D shape of your customers using just a single image.” Technology like the SOMA Shape API could be used for fashion, AR/VR applications, and even fitness technology.

Body Labs also has a mobile AI called Mosh that can be used to create stylized, AR-enhanced selfies. This kind of tech could again tie in nicely with the Amazon Echo Look device, which currently retails for $200.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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