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Offline Shopping Going Hi-Tech: Smart Mirrors, Talking Mannequins & More…

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Technology never ceases to amaze us.

Three decades back, could our parents have imagined that more than a third of the people on our planet would be connected to each other someday 24X7 via invisible signals some day?

The very mention of something like that (better known as the internet today) would have sounded as bizarre as the mention of airplanes would to Emperor Akbar almost 400 years ago!

Now that the airplanes and internet have become mundane, let’s talk about the esoteric.

Smart Mirrors

Move over smartphones and smart watches.

The smart mirrors created by MemoMi allow people to virtually try the clothes on themselves without actually slipping into them, change the colour of the chosen garments digitally and even share what they have tried with friends via email message or over social media.

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Isn’t that simply amazing- imagine not having to wait outside the trial Room, writhing in misery as wifey tries at least 28 different t-shirts before declaring that they are all too loud for her and that the entire collection was in poor taste.

These mirrors of the future will have computer processors using which shoppers can set up personal shopping accounts, thus allowing users to view their purchase history from any device.

No, that’s not all!

These mirrors even allow users to record seven second videos of themselves and compare the various outfits side by side to see what style/ colour suited them best, made their tummy look flatter or their butt bigger!

These smart mirrors that sound extremely futuristic have already caught the fancy of leading American retailer Neiman Marcus, who is now all set to install them at three departmental stores in the United States.

Talking Mannequins

Back in March 2014, startup Iconeme Ltd. had stunned us all with mannequins that talk to shoppers as they pass by store windows and tell them about clothes.

Acting upon the information that 84% shoppers who own smartphones are aided by their devices while browsing through a store, the innovative startup thought of creating these dummies which can talk to interested buyers.

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Shoppers who like the idea can download the VMBeacon app to their smartphones. Whenever they get within 100 feet of a talking mannequin, the dummy will take over and tell them where the clothes they are looking of can be found in the store and the various styling options.

These ‘smart dummies’ (haven’t heard a better oxymoron in ages) which cost 30-35% more than the conventional ones had attracted attention of Topshop parent company Arcadia Group and some other retailers when unveiled.

I, for once, was neither impressed nor amused. The whole idea sounded creepy.

Panasonic Smart Mirrors

Different from the smart mirrors referred to earlier, these ones by Japanese tech biggie Panasonic come with emboldened cameras which let users experiment with different looks and try virtual makeup without having to actually undergo the entire thing.

If you are planning to go for a haircut, for example, and want to see if you can carry off a spunky look with spikes et al, you don’t really have to risk your look. The Panasonic smart mirror will apply the digital spikes on to your head and help you form a good idea of the new look you wanted to try.

Women can try various shades of eye shadows and lipsticks, hairdos and even the shape of their brows.

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Panasonic had first talked about these smart mirrors at IFA in Berlin last year. It was their demo at CES 2015 however that helped them wow the audiences.

The company has not mentioned the proposed date of the launch of these smart mirrors nor thrown any hints about the possible cost.

Extremely innovative and futuristic. Some of them sound and look like the many gizmos and gadgets which would enthrall us in Star Trek.

Only last week, I had read about an internet refrigerator which will suggest the recipes and dishes which can be tried out with the food items stacked up inside, besides telling the owners that the juice is about to get finished.

Additionally, the smart refrigerators will also inform the owners if everything in the freezer suddenly starts melting or the compressor breaks so that he can rush and get the gadget fixed before all the food gets ruined.

I am waiting to get a bamboo-copter like the one owned by Nobita in the cartoon series Doraemon (oh, I love that adorable creature for the innovative gadgets he can fetch from his four dimension pocket).

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Hope the bamboo copter will help me avoid those nasty traffic jams and save me a few hours every day!

What gadget would you want?

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