Key Augmented Reality & Retail Patent Issued To Zugara

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Patent Relates To The “Virtual Dressing Room” Of Today & Tomorrow

Los Angeles – September 25 – We’re pleased to announce that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Zugara a patent on our augmented reality social commerce platform, The Webcam Social Shopper (WSS). “Today we were issued our first patent, and for the future of retail, it’s an important one” said Matt Szymczyk, CEO of Zugara.

The patent, USP #8,275,590, relates to the simulation of trying on one or more virtual-wearable items within a video feed, the ability to use gestural controls to navigate through the interfaces and take pictures to share with your friends, all from within the WSS interface.

WSS can be used with a wide variety of “video feeds”, such as via PCs, tablets, smartphones, depth-sensing cameras (e.g. Kinects), connected TVs, kiosks, eyewear (e.g. Google Glass)… you name it. In essence, WSS relates to what is now commonly referred to as a “digital mirror” or a “virtual dressing room”.

Other features of the patent and/or WSS include the following:

  • ANY VIRTUAL, WEARABLE ITEMS: This isn’t just about trying on virtual clothing. Virtual Jewelry, glasses, watches, purses, and anything else that’s “wearable”.
  • SIZING & FIT: The method of using body part detection & recognition to determine a wearable item’s size and fit is covered.
  • SOCIAL SHOPPING: This element is actually covered in two ways.
    1. Taking photos with the virtual, wearable item(s) and sharing them via social networks.
    2. Multiple people trying on virtual, wearable items simultaneously, and having a shared shopping experience within a video-chat or conferencing environment.
  • GESTURE, MOTION AND VOICE CONTROL: Using gestures, motion and voice control to interact with, manipulate and purchase virtual, wearable items directly within the virtual dressing room interface.

Why is this patent important? Augmented reality powered “virtual dressing rooms” will play a critical role in retail’s multi-channel future, and it should be noted that we’re not alone in our thinking. It’s a vision of the future now shared by companies like Forrester, eMarketer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft & eBay (note: we’re not claiming that these organizations endorse our platform, just that each of them support the space in general. Please click on the links above to see how).

So what does this “virtual dressing room” of the future look like? Imagine several friends video chatting. Ashley’s in front of her connected TV; Kara’s curled up on her couch, tablet in her hands; and, Christina’s out walking her dog, clutching her smartphone. Nothing too groundbreaking there, but now imagine that instead of simply chatting, they’re actually shopping together too. They’re browsing; trying on dresses, necklaces, glasses and hats; giving each other feedback; and, recommending items to one another. You see, the virtual dressing room of the future makes internet-connected shopping a truly social experience from any device.

Example visual representation of the virtual dressing room of the future.

As we alluded to earlier, cameras are now native in virtually every internet-connected device that people buy. And as hardware (and software) improves, the camera will ultimately function as another input device, right alongside the mouse/keyboard and the touchscreen. The camera (and microphone) though will allow for the most natural interface out of the three, an interface controlled by gestures, motions and one’s voice. In fact, we’re already seeing these types of interfaces in Samsung’s Smart TVs and in Microsoft’s Kinect. And it’s this “natural user interface” (NUI) that will provide the framework for the “virtual dressing room” of the future.

“We’ve been working on our commerce platform for nearly four years. Our first patent protects our current vision for the Webcam Social Shopper and aspects of our future vision for the platform in multi-channel retail.” said Matt Szymczyk, CEO of Zugara. “Our goal has always been to fundamentally change the way people shop. And today we took a huge step towards achieving that goal. It’s incredibly reassuring to know that the innovations we have been making in the retail space are finally recognized through the granting of this patent.”

Zugara is changing the face of multi-channel retail. Since 2009, we’ve been developing the Webcam Social Shopper (WSS), a patented commerce platform and interface that provides retailers with a more social, visual and fun experience for their shoppers.

The current iteration of WSS utilizes augmented reality to turn a shopper’s webcam into a real-time interactive mirror. So a young woman can actually hold a dress up in front of herself, just like she would at the rack in a store, and immediately validate if an item’s style/color is right for her. No downloads, no plug-ins, no paper markers… it just works.

If you are interested in licensing our patent or technology, please contact info@zugara(dot)com.