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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Scanned to fit

Reading Time: 3 minutes

3D body scanners invented by an Australian start-up are set to revolutionise fashion and fitness

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Don’t we all love it when we find a perfectly-fitted outfit? But gone are the days when we could get a tailor to size us up, measure all the curves and dips of our unique bodies, and then stitch up a garment that enhanced our shapes or discreetly covered our not-so-flattering bumps.

In today’s world of mass-produced clothing and online shopping, well-fitted clothes are hit and miss. We are huddled into sizes called small, medium, large, extra-large and so on while we could be pear-shaped, apple-shaped, hourglass, diamond or inverted triangle!

We trawl stores for the perfect outfit, spending hours getting in and out of clothes in stuffy fitting rooms. Or we browse online for clothes that looks great on the model, but realise they are a total mismatch for our body shape when our parcel arrives.

Soon all these nightmares are going to disappear, as Dipra Ray brings mPort to the world.

Short for ‘measurement passport’, mPort is a phone-booth sized body scanning system that is being rolled out at shopping centres around Australia.

Users simply step into the booth to get their bodies scanned. The scanner maps your entire body using over 200,000 points of measurement in 3D, within seconds. This provides accurate dimensions allowing you to pick your perfect fit, or you can have your clothes tailored by mPort’s online and in-store partners.

“mPort is one of the first companies to bring body scanning to a retail environment anywhere in the world,” Ray told Indian Link. “Most of us know of body scanning being used for medical research diagnosis or airport security systems. These systems use microwave or X-ray technology, but mPort uses infra-red, which is purportedly safer, even for people with pacemakers or other implants.”

Inside mPort

The first scanning booths have been rolled out at Melbourne Central, Shell Harbour Wollongong and at the Stockland Piccadilly Centre in Sydney.

Offering one free scan per year when you sign up, once your account is activated you have access to the full mPort platform. This includes getting tailor-made clothing, size recommendations and access to a health report called ‘My Body Report’. This can help you see how you rank among others in your country and track your fitness goals. You can also view your body transformations in 3D with ‘MyAvatar’.

According to Ray, close to 15,000 people have already signed up for the service. Ray believes there is a strong synergy between health and fashion and mPort serves both purposes neatly.

“When people want to look good and want to wear well-fitted clothes, they also want to get into shape and vice versa,” he said. “We see health as being a crossover. People buying tailored suits end up buying health plans as well.”

A consummate entrepreneur, Ray is well-experienced with start-ups. At 17 he launched a peer-to-peer school tutoring business in Auckland. At 20, he set up his first not-for-profit, SavY.org.nz, which promotes financial literacy among young people. With a double major in finance and accounting, he worked as an investment banker, until the mPort idea took root.

It took three years for this Kolkata-born, New Zealand-bred 26-year-old, who now calls Sydney home, to bring the mPort idea to reality.

Talking about the inception of this idea, Ray revealed that during a phone call from a friend and the conversation drifted to the problems that his friend’s fiancée experienced when looking for a wedding dress.

The options were to traipse across the city to different wedding dress specialists located kilometres apart, or to shop online and risk an ill-fitting wedding dress.

Ray thought, ‘There must be a better way to purchase clothes that fit’ and this grew into the mPort idea. He teamed up with his friends to bring the idea to reality. “We had a clear vision of what we needed to do. Between us, we have enough expertise and build our team up as we required.”

Eventually, mPort hopes to provide a tool that would let customers try on clothing in a virtual change room using an online store by overlaying clothing and body measurements to show the exact fit.

“In March next year we will be doing a broader roll out. We are signing up with big brands and businesses. You will see a lot more mPort pods across Australia,” Dipra Ray promised.

 

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Jyoti Shankar
Jyoti Shankar is a freelance writer and sustainability professional, who is passionate about nature

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