 Interactive personal shopper recommends clothes to match what youre wearing
 Unique design to be showcased at MADE IN BRUNEL student show, 4 7th June 06, Business Design Centre, Islington
Having a shopping nightmare? Spoiled for choice in Topshop? 22-year-old Emma Kingsnorth may have solved your problems by creating a computerised personal shopper to help out in the high street changing room.
Emmas personal shopper called Switch Selector takes the form of a touch screen computer and a small video camera in a shops changing room. When consulted, the device will ask a few simple questions and assess the colour of the clothes youre wearing or trying on, before recommending items from the shops current range that match. It can show where in the shop a particular item is, or offers a call an assistant button.
For the single shopper who is really struggling, the personal shopper can send a picture of the chosen item to a friends mobile to ask them for advice. When it is linked up to the shops stock control system, it could provide details of what is currently in stock, suggest other similar items purchased by shoppers who have bought that item, or offer an immediate buy now shopping basket facility, helping shoppers avoid check out queues.
Emma, from Ashford in Kent, whos currently in the final year of her BSc Multimedia Technology and Design degree at Brunel University comments: You can never have too many clothes, but sometimes there are too many clothes in a shop to find what you want easily. Thats why I designed this personal shopper: to help make shopping that bit easier. It will find clothes to match what youre wearing, will recommend other styles in stock - you could even buy the item without leaving the changing room. With a simple touch screen, its really easy to use too. It might even tempt a few men into changing rooms.
Emmas design shows how engineering can make everyday tasks in life easier, explains Leon Cruickshank, course director for Multimedia Technology and Design at Brunel University. Its simple to use, but brings real benefits for both shoppers and retailers alike. Shes showing her design at the upcoming MADE IN BRUNEL design show, alongside other Engineering and Design final year students projects.
Each students final year project is to design an item that has social impact, and each year, the designs exhibited attract huge interest from both the public and from commercial investors. This product is one example of the talent we have at Brunel, which never ceases to impress me.
How does it work?
The software was created using Macromedia Director and WebCamXtra to pick the colour of the clothes, together with a database search facility to match the clothes. A touch screen provides a simple interface, so even those users with little experience of computers will easily navigate the system.
MADE IN BRUNEL 2006 is taking place at the Business Design Centre, Islington from Sunday 4th Wednesday 7th June 06. For more information, please see www.madeinbrunel.com.