Sunday, July 16, 2017

Oh, patents! Thirdlove

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Thirdlove Shades of Nude
Viral online bra sales…. What’s with MIT and target objects?!

Plenty, in terms of comfort and vibrant style, re-invented technologies, participatory design, high-tech Moms and savvy young female entrepreneurs, who happened to have transited through the MIT MBA program!

Thirdlove is all about a virtual bra-shopping experience! Getting the all time best-fitted bra, without searching, or even trying one on! As a result, the company is the first to offer half sizes and 30% more cup options, in a bid to accommodate all women, rather than just those larger, or smaller than a single standard.

To achieve the hitherto deemed impossible task of a virtual bra fitting, the company developed a body-imaging and sizing app. This invention is recited in the US patent Application US20140270540A1 titled Determining dimension of target object in an image using reference object.

Virtual fitting requires the user stand in front of a mirror and position certain virtual scanning guides relative to the target objects at a specified distance. The app then calculates several measurements including both the front, and side, overbust and underbust, relative to an apex and the distance between the two. The app also adjusts and estimates contours.

In terms of privacy, Thridlove only uses the calculated measurements for delivering a perfectly fitted bra. The data might be aggregated for various research purposes, in which case client IDs would be deleted. However, the scans used for measurements are performed natively, on each user’s mobile device, and are never forwarded to the company. 

The included abstract of this invention is short and sweet. Figure 17 of 41 figure drawings in the patent application shows one of the interfaces of the app for determining the size of targeted objects. Figure 18 shows the measurements taken. 
Systems and methods for determining one or more dimensions of an object using a digital image are described [Abstract US20140270540A1]
Interestingly, the scope of this invention fully extends to the customization of clothing for both men and women, since the imaging invention may ultimately be used to size varying targets or body parts. 

To date, however, the bottom line is $68 for a customized virtual bra fitting without leaving the comforts of your own home, a patented bra that is so comfortable you will forget you are wearing one, and a 30-day trial period for a 100% perfect fit, guaranteed!

Welch, L. (Nov 2016) How an MIT Grad Made a $68 Bra So Perfect, You'll Forget You're Wearing It. Magazine

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