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Three Cheers for TSA Body Scanners

In less than 20 years, Amazon and other online shopping companies have revolutionized the way we shop. Books, electronics, airline tickets, and even diapers are all now easier to buy online.

One industry, however, has largely held the line so far against the online shopping revolution: clothing. Given the importance of a good fit, physical stores where customers have the opportunity to try on clothes before they buy them retain a significant leg up over their online counterparts.

Online retailers are looking to break down this competitive advantage, and they’re using one of the more infamous new technologies out there: TSA body scanners. The scanners allow a potential customer to have his or her exact measurements and overall shape digitized and stored on file by a retailer. Computer algorithms can then match the scanned image to products that would be a good fit, or, if necessary, provide guidance for specially tailored clothes.

Customers can now get test scans in a number of malls throughout the country. The FT reports:

In recent years airport scanners have been best known for controversy they have sparked over the right to privacy. Unique Solutions is using the millimetre wave technology in some airport body scanners – invented by a government laboratory – to offer shoppers free scans in 70 US malls, where shoppers get buying recommendations based on their measurements.

It may take a while, but this has serious potential to catch on. Standard clothes sizes are so 20th century. Via Meadia welcomes the arrival of a future tailored to fit all of our individual needs.

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