Shopping for clothes online is a bit of a gamble, but Berlin-based startup UPcload is launching a new Web-based body-measuring system that will give you a perfect fit each time, no matter what the brand. Founded by university classmates Asaf Moses and Sebastian Schulze, who bonded over their frustration with buying ill-fitting garments online, UPcload seeks to eliminate the hassle of returns by taking the guesswork out of sizing. No fancy scanning equipment is required. All you need is a webcam
and an ordinary CD, which the company’s photo-recognition software uses to determine your distance and subsequent dimensions.
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Behind the scenes, UPcload—a portmanteau of “upload” and “clothes”—is a little more high-tech. Moses and Schulze use image-analysis algorithms developed for the military and semiconductor industries by the Israeli company Imagu, which traded its technology for a quarter of UPcload’s shares.
Your profile acts as your “passport” to participating online retailers, which can provide recommendations based on your measurements.
Because Imagu’s software hones in on images at the subpixel level, it’s more precise than standard object-recognition software. “The measurements are on average more accurate than those taken by a professional tailor,” Moses tells BusinessWeek. (He insists that all webcam images are discarded as soon as the measurements are generated.)
Your profile, once created, acts as your “passport” to participating online retailers, which can provide recommendations based on your measurements and style preferences. One major company that has signed on is The North Face, which plans to use the software to improve the online shopping experience, as well as suss out if its sizing models need adjusting.
UPcload plans to eventually expand its service to include shoes, a move that’s motivated, in part, by personal experience. After using eBay to score a pair of the same Nikes worn by George Constanza on Seinfeld, Moses discovered they were so small they gave him leg pains. “The doctor told me to stop wearing them,” he says.