Imagine waking each morning to your avatar in a magic mirror that talks to you and offers wardrobe suggestions based on your body type, the weather, chosen activity, and the fabrics best suited for it all.
The tech is just around the corner, and it’s not just going to make you look good. It will make you healthier.
“A lifestyle that actively improves health is becoming increasingly important in our aging societies and ever-increasing costs in their health insurance systems. Smart textiles can make a considerable difference in supporting a healthy lifestyle. Wearing smart clothing suitable for target activities and environments is termed ‘healthy wearing lifestyle’,” say Mingliang Cao of Foshan University, Yi Li of the University of Manchester, and Zhigeng Pan of Hangzhou Normal University, the authors of “Toward Visual Avatars that Dress You Well and Impact Your Health.” (login may be required for full text)
However, the authors say it will take a lot more than computer graphics, virtual clothes and simulation to make this vision a reality. It will require a network of sensors, data analytics, cloud services, and IoT technologies working with your avatar to help you select not only the sharpest outfits but the healthiest.
The authors propose a fast clothing simulation system that consists of four pillars: your body type, the activity you are engaging in, environmental factors such as temperature and humidity, and the fabric/design of the garment.
Cao, Li, and Pan propose a cloud-based approach that gives recommendations on what to wear for a certain activity based on pre-collected massive data shared via the cloud.
The app allows you to see yourself engaged in an activity with suggested attire for that activity. The idea is to increase your comfort level and keep you as cool or as warm as the weather dictates, thus contributing to your overall health.
You can enter as much personalized information as you want, and the app will render several suggested outfits.
“For example, an individual can input information about a predicted activity (e.g. hiking) and environmental conditions (e.g. 30° Celsius, relative humidity of 60%) before selecting a garment,” say the authors.
The better the information, the more it will improve the outfit suggestions, simplifying the selection process for you and making cloud-based visual avatars much more popular.
The cloud-based app will rely heavily on crowdsourcing to gather information about activities and weather conditions from people who are experienced or who happen to already be in the area where you plan to go.
Who better to tell you how hard it’s raining at Disneyland? Or how the heat will be unbearable on the day of the marathon? Or how, in spite of the humidity outside, the movie theater is freezing?
In the future, the authors envision an app that will connect to smart home and smart environment technology to collect data automatically from embedded sensors and sync up with other eHealth devices to improve our health.
“We hope that we have been able to spawn some ideas how research in computer graphics, smart sensors, simulation technology, IoT and their integration can contribute to peoples’ daily lives,” the authors say.
Research related to avatars in the Computer Society Digital Library
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- The Health Avatar: Privacy-Aware Monitoring and Management
- An Integrated Framework for Avatar Data Collection from the Virtual World: A Case Study in Second Life
- Full-Body Avatar Control with Environment Awareness
- An Avatar Architecture for the Web of Things
- An Integrated Framework for Avatar Data Collection from the Virtual World
About Lori Cameron
Lori Cameron is a Senior Writer for the IEEE Computer Society and currently writes regular features for Computer magazine, Computing Edge, and the Computing Now and Magazine Roundup websites. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on LinkedIn.