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Retail Applications of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and 3D Scanning  


According to IBM’s 2020 U.S. Retail Index report, the pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital shopping by roughly five years. However, VR still requires proprietary technology or equipment not necessarily available in every home due to expense or technical savvy despite being a rising trend in fashion accelerated by the pandemic. Another rising trend that is more accessible is augmented reality (AR). AR  is an alternative to virtual reality that “allows the user to see the real world, with virtual objects superimposed upon or composited with the real world” (Azuma, 1997, p.356). AR supplements reality, unlike VR that completely replaces it with a completely virtual setting. What makes AR such a viable use is that it does not need powerful equipment to produce and can be created using the camera from a tablet or smart phone. 

More advanced cameras and technology that understands three-dimensional spaces propelled updates to software and hardware that allow the use of AR by the industry. Lidar cameras, rapidly improving technologies include markerless body tracking (which detects body motion without physical markers), body segmentation (which separates people from their environment) and pose estimation (which predicts the location of a person) are emerging technologies that fuel experimentation with virtual try-on and digital fashion experiences. 

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