WO2001001235A1 - System and method for simulating how an article of wear will appear and feel on an individual - Google Patents

System and method for simulating how an article of wear will appear and feel on an individual

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Publication number
WO2001001235A1
WO2001001235A1 PCT/US2000/017478 US0017478W WO2001001235A1 WO 2001001235 A1 WO2001001235 A1 WO 2001001235A1 US 0017478 W US0017478 W US 0017478W WO 2001001235 A1 WO2001001235 A1 WO 2001001235A1
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WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
article
body
customer
wear
step
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2000/017478
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Tara Chand Singhal
Original Assignee
Tara Chand Singhal
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions

Abstract

The present invention is directed to an apparatus (10) and method for facilitating the purchase of an article of wear (27). The method uses a fit system (12) to simulate how the article of wear (27) will fit on a body (29) of a customer (20). Uniquely, the method includes generating one or more visual indicators (704) of how the article of wear (27) will fit on the customer (20). With this information, the customer (20) is better able to determine whether or not to purchase the article of wear (27) and/or what size of the article of wear is appropriate for the customer (20). Preferably, the fit system (12) is also used to provide a visual article image (705) of the article of wear on a visual model body image (707) of a portion of a model body. Further, the visual indicators (704) are positioned near or overlaid upon article image (705). Additionally, the body date (25) of the customer (20) can be used to generate a customer body image (500) of the customer (20) that approximates the customer body (29) of the customer (20).

Description

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SIMULATING HOW AN ARTICLE OF WEAR WILL APPEAR AND FEEL ON AN INDIVIDUAL

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application claims priority on Provisional Application Serial Number

60/141 ,152, entitled "INTERNET-BASED ARTICLE-OF-WEAR TRY IT ON SYSTEM" filed on June 25, 1999, by Tara Chand Singhal. The contents of Provisional Application Serial No. 60/141 ,152 are incorporated herein by reference. This application also claims priority on co-pending U.S. Application Serial

Number 09/570,232 entitled "Method and Apparatus for Facilitating Anonymous Service Transactions", filed May 12, 2000. The contents of Application Serial No. 09/570232 are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a method and apparatus for facilitating the buying and selling of articles-of-wear. More specifically, the present invention is directed to a method and apparatus that enables a customer to simulate how an article-of-wear will appear and feel on the customer.

BACKGROUND

Internet usage is increasing rapidly throughout the world. In order to take advantage of the increased usage, many merchants have established virtual stores that can be accessed on the Internet. At these virtual stores, a customer can browse the items offered by the merchants. Subsequently, the customer can purchase one or more items from the merchants.

A typical Internet transaction involves (i) the customer browsing the virtual store of a particular merchant, (ii) the customer selecting one or more item(s) for purchase, (iii) the customer paying for the item(s), and (iv) the merchant arranging for shipment of the item(s) to the customer.

Unfortunately, not all types of item(s) are suited for this type of transaction. In particular, many customers prefer to see how articles-of-wear, such as garments, shoes, hats, gloves, and other wear items, appear and fit prior to purchasing the articles of wear. Although many of these articles-of-wear are categorized by size, how a particular size of article of wear will fit and feel will vary according to the design of the article of wear, the type of material utilized in the article of wear and the manufacturer of the article of wear. In a physical store, the customer tries on the article of wear.

Subsequently, the customer looks in a mirror to determine how the article of wear looks and uses their senses to determine how the article feels in order to determine if an alternate size would be more appropriate. In fact, how the article of wear fits and feels is often critical in the decision on whether or not to purchase the article of wear.

However, with an Internet transaction, it is not possible for the customer to try on the article of wear prior to purchasing the article of wear. Instead, the customer must pay for the article of wear and the merchant must ship the article of wear prior to the customer trying on the article of wear. Next, if the customer is not satisfied with the fit and/or feel of the article of wear, the customer must either return the article of wear or exchange the article of wear for an alternately sized article of wear. Moreover, there is no assurance that the fit or feel of the alternately sized article of wear will be acceptable. In any event, either the customer or merchant must incur the cost of shipping. In light of the above, it is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method for facilitating the purchase of an article of wear. Another object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and method for simulating how an article of wear will fit and feel on a particular customer.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to an apparatus and method for facilitating the purchase of an article of wear. The method uses a computer to simulate how an article of wear will fit on a body of a customer. More specifically, the method includes generating one or more visual indicators of how the article of wear will fit and feel on the customer. With this information, the customer is better able to determine whether or not to purchase the article of wear and/or what size of the article of wear is most appropriate for the customer. The term article of wear as used herein shall mean and include garments, jewelry, and other items that are suited to be worn by an individual. For example, an article of wear can include shirts, pants, hats, gloves, sweatshirts, shorts, skirts, blazers, trousers, shoes, bracelets, and suits.

The computer can also be used to provide a visual article image of the article of wear positioned on a visual model body image of a portion of a model body. The visual article image on the visual model body image can be generated by taking a digital picture of a model wearing the article of wear. Preferably, the one or more visual indicators are positioned near and/or overlaid over a portion of the article image. As provided herein, the one or more visual indicators can be generated by comparing article data that relates to the article of wear with body data that relates to the customer. For example, one or more visual indicators can be generated by comparing one or more article circumferences of the article of wear with one or more body circumferences of the customer body of the customer. Additionally, the one or more visual indicators can include one or more circumference symbols that illustrate the relationships between the one or more articles circumferences and the one or more body circumferences of the customer body.

Further, one or more of the visual indicators can be generated by comparing one or more article lengths of the article of wear with one or more body lengths of the body of the customer. Additionally, one or more of the visual indicators can include one or more length symbols that represent the relationships between the one or more article lengths and the one or more body lengths. Moreover, one or more of the visual indicators can indicate how the article of wear will feel based upon (i) a material utilized in the article of wear, (ii) a thickness of the article of wear, and/or (iii) a breath-ability of the article of wear. As provided herein, the one or more visual indicators can be illustrated with a number code, a graphic code and/or a color code that represents the relationship between a body dimension of the customer body of the customer and a corresponding article dimension of the article of wear. The present invention is also directed to a method and device for using a computer to simulate how a customer body of a customer will appear. The method includes the step of generating a computer simulated visual customer body image of the customer body based upon one or more body dimensions of the customer. This feature allows the customer to easily record and monitor changes in the customer body.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The novel features of this invention, as well as the invention itself, both as to its structure and its operation, will be best understood from the accompanying drawings, taken in conjunction with the accompanying description, in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:

Figure 1A is a block diagram that illustrates an apparatus and method having features of the present invention;

Figure 1 B is a front plan view of a customer and an article of wear; Figure 2 is a block diagram that illustrates a fit system having features of the present invention;

Figure 3 is a block diagram that illustrates a body sub-database having features of the present invention;

Figure 4 is a block diagram that illustrates the functions of a fit system program having features of the present invention;

Figure 5A is simplified illustration of a first body image web page having features of the present invention;

Figure 5B is simplified illustration of a second body image web page having features of the present invention; Figure 5C is simplified illustration of a third body image web page having features of the present invention;

Figure 6 is a block diagram that illustrates an article database structure having features of the present invention; Figure 7A is a simplified illustration of a first fit web page having features of the present invention;

Figure 7B is a simplified illustration of a second fit web page having features of the present invention; Figure 8 is a simplified illustration of plurality alternate visual indicators having features of the present invention;

Figure 9 is a block diagram that illustrates a merchant system having features of the present invention;

Figures 10A and 10B are simplified illustrations of merchant web pages having features of the present invention;

Figure 11 is a flow chart that illustrates how the fit system generates a customer body image having features of the present invention; and

Figure 12 is a flow chart that illustrates how the fit system generates a combined image having features of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION Introduction

Referring initially to Figure 1A, a method and apparatus 10 having features of the present invention can include a fit system 12, a fit system interface 12A, at least one customer interface 20A for a customer 20, one or more merchant interfaces 22A (two are illustrated) for one or more merchants 22 (two are illustrated) that are connected. Preferably, as illustrated in Figure 1A, the systems are connected on a global computer network 24.

As an overview, the present invention simulates how an article of wear 27 (illustrated in Figure 1 B) will appear, fit, and feel on an individual such as the customer 20. More specifically, with the present design, (i) the customer 20 provides body data 25 (illustrated in Figures 2 and 3) that specifically relates to a customer body 29 (illustrated in Figure 1B) of the customer 20 to the fit system 12, (ii) the fit system 12 generates a simulated visual customer body image 500 (illustrated in Figures 5B and 5C) of a portion and/or all of the customer body 29 of the customer 20 utilizing the body data 25, and (iii) the fit system 12 provides a simulated visual combined fit image 702 (illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B) of how the article of wear fits and/or feels on the customer 20. Preferably, the combined image 702 includes one or more visual indicators 704 (illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B) that represent how well one or more alternate areas or sections of the article-of-wear will fit and/or feel on the customer 20

Preferred and optional aspects of the method and apparatus 10 are described below The headings are provided for the convenience of the reader Fit System 12

Referring to Figure 2, the fit system 12 includes (i) a fit storage device 30, (n) a fit operating system 32 stored in the fit storage device 30, (in) a fit system program 34 stored in the fit storage device 30, and (iv) a fit system processor 36 connected to the fit storage device 30

The fit system processor 36 can include one or more conventional central processing units The fit system processor 36 is preferably capable of high volume processing and database searches

The fit storage device 30 can include one or more magnetic disk drives, magnetic tape drives, optical storage units, CD-ROM drives, flash memory, cache memory and/or other types of memory devices The fit storage device 30 preferably also contains a plurality of databases For example, as illustrated in Figure 2, the fit storage device 30 can include a fit merchant database 38 and a customer database 40 The customer database 40 contains relevant, personal data specifically related to the customer 20 Personal data related to the customer 20 can include (i) customer identification data 42 of each customer 20, and (u) the body data 25 of each customer 20 The customer identification data 42 can include the name, address, phone number, facsimile number, and electronic mail address of the customer 20 However, it is not necessary for the customer 20 to provide any or all of the customer identification data 42 for the functioning of the present invention

The body data 25 of the customer 20 can include one or more body dimensions 41 A and/or body characteristics 41 B of the customer body 29 that will allow the fit system 12 to generate the customer body image 500 and/or the visual indicators 704 Stated another way, the body data 25 can include one or more body dimensions 41 A and/or body characteristics 41 B of the customer body 29 that will assist the customer 20 in determining if a particular article of wear 27 fits, feels and/or looks correctly. For example, the body dimensions 41 A can include one or more measurements of the body circumference and one or more measurements of the body length or height at a plurality of spaced apart locations on the customer body 29. The body characteristics 41 B can include skin tone, eye color, ethnic background and other visual body features. The body data 25 is preferably at least the same data that is taken by a tailor (not shown) to custom make an article of clothing for the customer 20.

The body data 25 required for evaluating a particular article of wear 27 will vary according to the article of wear 27. Preferably, the body data 25 entered by the customer 20 is sufficient to allow the fit system 12 to generate the customer body image 500 that depicts a three dimensional, graphic image, like a mannequin, of substantially true likeness to the customer body 29.

As illustrated in Figure 3, the body data 25 for each of the customers 20 can include and be divided into (i) a whole body segment 300 that can include a weight 302, a height 304, a gender/body style 306, an ethnic style 307, facial structure data 308, and flesh tone data 310 of the customer 20, (ii) a head body segment 312 that can include a measurement of a head circumference 314 and a head length 316, (iii) a neck body segment 318 that can include a measurement of a neck circumference 320 and a neck length 322, (iv) a shoulder body segment 324 that can include a measurement of a shoulder circumference 326, a shoulder drop 328, and a shoulder height 330, (iv) an upper torso body segment 332 that can include an upper torso circumference 334, and a torso height 336, (v) a middle torso body segment 338 that can include a middle torso circumference 340, and a torso height 342, (vi) a lower body torso segment 344 that can include a lower torso circumference 346, and a torso height 348, (vii) a left arm body segment 350 that can include a left arm length 352, a left, lower arm circumference 354, and a left upper arm circumference 356, (viii) a right arm body segment 358 that can include a right arm length 360, a right, lower arm circumference 362, and a right upper arm circumference 364, (ix) a left hand body segment 366 that can include a left hand size 368, (x) a right hand body segment 370 that can include a right hand size 372, (xi) a left leg body segment 374 that can include a left inseam measurement 376, a left, lower leg circumference 378, and a left, upper leg circumference 380, (xii) a right leg body segment 382 that can include a right inseam measurement 384, a right, lower leg circumference 386, and a right, upper leg circumference 388, (xiii) a left foot body segment 390 that can include left foot size 392 and left arch size 394, and (iv) a right foot body segment 396 that can include right foot size 397 and right arch size 398. The list provided in this paragraph is intended to merely illustrate possible body dimensions 41 A and body characteristics 41 B of the customer 20. Importantly, other body dimensions and body characteristics of the customer 20 can be utilized.

Stated another way, the present invention divides the body data 25 of each customer 20 into a plurality of body segments, namely the whole body segment 300, the head body segment 312, the neck body segment 318, the shoulder body segment 324, the upper torso body segment 332, the middle torso body segment 338, the lower torso body segment 344, the left arm body segment 350, the right arm body segment 358, the left hand body segment 366, the right hand body segment 370, the left leg body segment 374, the right leg body segment 382, the left foot body segment 390, and the right foot body segment 396. For each body segment, detailed body dimension and/or body characteristic data is kept that would define that body segment so that the customer body image 500 that substantially represents the customer body 29 may be generated by the fit system 12.

All of the body data 25 used to generate the customer body image 500 and/or the combined fit image 702 may be entered directly by the customer 20. Alternately, some or a large portion of the body data 25 used to generate the customer body image 500 and/or the visual indicators 704 may be derived by extrapolation using other body data 25 that was entered the customer 20. Preferably, the body data 25 used to generate the customer body image 500 and the combined image 702 includes at least the dimensions that a tailor would use to custom fit an article of wear on the customer 20.

The gender/body style data 306 may represent the gender of male/female and muscular and normal body styles. The facial structure data 308 can include feature data such as color of eyes, length of nose, and the flesh tone data 310 can include shade characteristics. As provide below, the customer 20 can enter the body data 25 by making a selection from a collection of choices. For example, for facial structure data, the facial features of the human race may be catalogued and grouped by various facial profiles and/or nationalities.

Preferably, referring back to Figure 2, the customer database 40 is organized and maintained in multiple, separate sub-databases, namely (i) a customer identification sub-database 40A containing the customer identification data 42 of each of the customers 20, and (ii) a body data sub-database 40B containing the body data 25 of each of the customers 20. With this design, each sub-database 40A, 40B contains only a portion of the information about each of the customers 20. Thus, access to one of the databases 40A, 40B does not reveal all of the information about the customer 20. Stated another way, by having the identification data 42 of the customer 20 in a separate sub-database 40A from the body data 25, the present design provides another level of security to the customer 20.

Preferably, the data of each customer 20, in each sub-database 40A, 40B is anchored by a unique sequence number 44. The sequence number 44 can be any number of characters that can be used to anonymously identify each customer 20. The sequence number 44 is preferably assigned to each customer 20 by the fit system 12. With this design, the fit system 12 can access the information of a particular customer 20 by searching for the sequence number 44 in each sub-database 40A, 40B.

Preferably, each customer 20 accesses the fit system 12 and the data in the customer database 40 with a unique anonymous customer identifier 46. The customer identifier 46 can be any number of characters that can be used to anonymously identify each customer 20. The customer identifier 46 can be created and selected by the customer 20 and/or assigned by the fit system 12. The customer identifier 46 allows the customer 20 to communicate with the fit system 12 without providing any data that will personally identify the customer 20 to third parties or the fit system 12. Stated another way, using the customer identifier 46, the customer 20 can utilize the fit system 12 without providing any information that will personally identify the customer 20 to the fit system 12.

The fit system 12 maintains the customer identifiers 46 in the fit storage device 30 and validates only unique customer identifiers 46 for customers 20. A more complete discussion of the customer identifier 46 is provided in U S Application Serial Number 09/570232, filed May 12, 2000

In use, after the customer 20 provides the customer identifier 46 to the fit system 12, the fit system 12 searches the customer identifier sub-database 40A with the customer identifier 46 to locate the sequence number 44 Subsequently, utilizing the sequence number 44, the fit system 12 can locate the body data 25 in the body data sub-database 40B without personally identifying the customer 20 to the fit system 12

Alternately, the data of the customer 20 retained in the customer database 40 can be separated into more than two or less than two sub-databases Each of the sub-databases 40A, 40B may be located in the same storage device 30 as illustrated in Figure 2 Alternately, for example, each sub-database 40A, 40B can be located in a separate storage devices With this design, the data between the sub-databases 40A, 40B and the fit system processor 36 may travel over secure internal communication lines, external private telephone lines and/or over the Internet

Figure 3 illustrates that the body data sub-database 40B can store the body data 25 of the customer 20 in the order of the body segments The body data 25 is preferably divided into the body segments illustrated in Figure 3 for ease of search and retrieval

The fit merchant database 38 contains fit merchant data 48 and information that relates to each of the merchants 22 Fit merchant data 48 can include the name, the address, the phone number, facsimile number, web page

URL, pager number, electronic mail address, and/or bank accounts of each merchant 22

Preferably, each merchant 22 is provided with a unique merchant identifier 50 The merchant identifier 50 can be any number of characters that can be used to identify the merchant 22 to the fit system 12 The merchant identifier 50 can be created and selected by the merchant 22 and/or assigned by the fit system 12 The fit system 12 preferably maintains the merchant identifiers 50 in the fit merchant database 38 of the fit storage device 30

Additionally, the fit system 12 can also retain article data 52 that relates to one or more articles of wear in the fit storage device 30 As provided below, the merchant 22 preferably provides the article data 52 to the fit system 12. Referring initially to Figure 2, the article data 52 for each article of wear can include (i) article dimensions 53 such as one or more article lengths 54, and/or one or more article circumferences 55, (ii) article characteristics 56 such as an article thickness 58, an article weight 60, and a breath-ability 62 of the article of wear, and (iii) a visual article image 64 of the particular article of wear positioned on a visual model body image 66 of a model body.

The article data 52 is preferably generated by the merchant 22 and transferred from the merchant 22 to the fit system 12. The article data 52 can be kept in the cache memory of the fit system 12 to avoid repeated retrieval of data from the merchant 22. Fit System Program 34

As an overview, referring to Figure 4, the fit system program 34 includes a customer image program 400, a fit image program 402 and an interface program 404 that are operative with the system processor 36.

The customer image program 400 is operative with the system processor 36 to perform the functions of (i) 406 generating a first body image web page 501 A (Figure 5A); (ii) 408 receiving some of the body data 25 from the customer 20 and generating a second body image web page 501 B (Figure 5B) that includes a generic customer body image 502 utilizing the body data 25 received; (iii) 410 receiving more body data 25 and generating a third body image web page 501 C the includes the customer body image 500 utilizing the body data 25 received; and (iv) 412 processing customer interactions.

The fit image program 402 is operative with the system processor 36 to per orm the functions of (i) 414 retrieving the article data 52 from the merchant 22, (ii) 416 determining a recommended size of article of wear by reviewing the body data 25 and the article data 52, (iii) 418 computing one or more visual indicators 704, (iv) 420 positioning near and/or overlaying the visual indicators 704 over the article body image and the model body image to generate the combined fit image 702, (v) 422 generating and sending fit web pages 701A, 701 B (illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B) illustrating the combined fit image 702 for access by customer interface 20A, and (vi) 424 processing customer interactions. The interface program 404 is operative with the system processor 36 to perform the functions of (i) 426 opening new accounts with merchants 22 and creating merchant identifiers 50, (n) 428 opening new accounts with customers

20, accepting customer identifiers 46 and validate customer identifiers, and (in) 430 creating sequence numbers 44

In the embodiment illustrated in Figures 1A, the fit system program 34 and the fit system processor 36 utilize a fit network interface 12B to interface with (i) each customer 20 via a customer network interface 20B and the customer interface 20A, and (n) each merchant 22 via a merchant network interface 22B and the merchant interface 22A Stated another way, the fit network interface 12B allows the fit system 12 to communicate with each customer 20 via the customer interface 20A and the merchant 22 via the merchant interface 22A Conventional internal or external modems may serve as the fit network interface 12B In a preferred embodiment, the fit network interface 12B is connected to the merchant network interface 22B and the customer network interface 20B with the Internet

Alternately, the fit network interface 12B can be connected by other electronic, voice and/or traditional communication systems that allow the fit system 12 to interact with each merchant 22 and each customer 20 For example, the fit system 12 can be connected to the merchant interface 22A and the customer interface 20A via one or more phone lines or data cables In this design, the fit network interface 12B can include an input device, such as a keyboard, mouse or voice recognition software that allows the information from the merchant interface 22A and/or the customer interface 20A to be entered to the fit system 12

Body image web pages 501

The way that the body data 25 is transferred from the customer 20 to the fit system 12 can be varied As provided herein, the fit system program 34 is operative with the fit system processor 36 to generate one or more body image web pages 501 A - 501 C (illustrated in Figures 5A-5C) that allows the customer 20 to interact with the fit system 12 over the Internet The body image web pages 501 A - 501 C are used to allow the customer 20 to easily and accurately enter and modify the body data 25 of the customer 20 into the fit system 12 The body image web pages 501 A - 501 C include one or more data fields 534 that allow the customer 20 to enter and/or modify the body data 25 of the customer 20. The body data 25 is subsequently saved in the fit storage device 30. In use the customer 20 enters the body data 25 into the body image web pages 501 A- 501 B using the customer interface 20A.

Figure 5A is a simplified illustration of a first body image web page 501A that facilitates the entering and reviewing the body data 25 by the customer 20. The first body image web page 501 A includes data fields 534 for entering some of the body data that is specific to the customer. More specifically, the first body image web page 501 A includes (i) an area 515 for optionally entering the customer identifier, (ii) a data field 534A for entering the gender and body type of the customer, (iii) a data field 534B for entering the height of the customer, (iv) a data field 534C for entering the weight of the customer, (v) a data field 534D for entering an age of the customer, (vii) a data field 534E for entering an ethic background of the customer, (viii) a data field 534F for entering a facial feature of the customer, (ix) a data field 534G for entering a skin shade of the customer and (x) a show me icon 537.

In summary, the first body image web page 501 A allows the customer 20 to optionally enter the customer identifier 46 and one or more of the body data 25 features of the customer 20. For example, Figure 5A illustrates that the first body image web page 501 A includes data fields 534A-534G that allows for the entry of the body data 25: (i) the gender of the customer 20, e.g. male or female, (iii) a height of the customer 20, (iv) a weight of the customer 20, (v) an ethnic background of the customer 20, (vi) one or more facial features of the customer 20, and (vii) a skin flesh tone of the customer 20. The body data features can be selected from lists generated by the fit system 12.

After entering some or all of the information into the data fields 534A- 534G, the customer clicks upon the show me icon 537. This causes the fit system 12 to generate the second body image web page 501 B illustrated in Figure 5B. The second body image web page 501 B includes (i) the area 515 for entering the customer identification, (ii) data fields 534A-534Z for entering the customer body data, (iii) the show me icon 537, (iv) a refresh icon 547, (v) a save icon 548, and (vii) one or more views of a generic body image 502. The body data entered into data fields 534A-534G in the first body image web page 501 A is transferred and carried over to the second body image web page 501 B. The initial data entered into first body image web page 501 A, is used by the fit system 12 to (i) generate the view of the generic body image 502 and (ii) filling in generic information in the data fields 534H- 534Z on the second body image web page 501 B.

The data fields 534A- 534Z are spread on the screen for the different body segment. Each of the data fields 534A- 534Z includes a header 544, a change- arrow 542 and the dimension itself 545. Clicking the header 544 opens a window 546 that shows how the dimensions can be measured. Clicking the change- arrows 542 increases or decreases the dimension. The customer, after seeing the standard images and the dimensions for the body data, may review and alter these dimensions.

Stated another way, the generic information in data fields 534H- 534Z can be changed to the actual body data of the customer by adjusting the respective arrow 542 near the respective data field. More specifically, the generic body information of the customer can be customized to customer's specific body dimensions by clicking up and down on each arrow 542 until the data field matches the body data of the customer 545. For example, data field 534H illustrates that the generic information of the ankle diameter is 4.5. If the ankle diameter of the customer is 4.9, the customer can click the down arrow 542 until the data field 534H reads 4.9.

After the customer 20 has reviewed the dimensions and/or altered the dimensions, the customer 20 can click a refresh button 547. This will cause the fit system 12 to generate the third body image web page 501 C illustrated in Figure 5C. The third body image web page 501 C includes (i) the area 515 for entering the customer identification, (ii) data fields 534A-534Z for entering/modifying the customer body data, (iii) the show me icon 537, (iv) the refresh icon 547, (v) the save icon 548, and (vii) one or more views of the customer body image 500. Importantly, the customer body image 500 illustrated in Figure 5C is a visual simulation created by the fit system 12 of the customer 20 utilizing the body data 25 provided by the customer 20. Clicking the save button 548 saves the body data 25 in the body data database 40B in the fit system 12. Importantly, the customer can modify one or more of the data fields 534A- 534Z and click upon the refresh button 547 to regenerate the customer body image 500 to fit the body data 25 of the customer 20. The save button 548 saves the body data 25in the body data sub-database 40B of the fit system 12. In the web pages 501 B, 501 C illustrated in Figures 5B - 5C, each body image 500, 502 is illustrated in a front view 538, a side view 539 and a back view 540. However, each of the body image 500, 502 can display other views. Further, for example, the angle of view in degrees of each of the views 538, 539, 540 can be changed by the customer 20 by entering a desired angle into a view data field 535.

Moreover, one or more of the views can be used as an interactive mirror application where areas of the body image 500, 502 may be enlarger (i.e. zoomed) for a more detailed view. For example, the face, the hand or other body part can be enlarged. The customer 20 does not need to enter all of the body data 25 into the body image web pages 501 A - 501 C at one time. The customer 20 can incrementally add body data 25 based upon when the customer 20 needs to try on a selected article of wear 27 from the merchant 22. For example, if the customer 22 is trying on a hat, the customer 22 needs only to enter the body data 25 that relates to the dimensions of their head and neck data. Alternately, if the customer 22 is trying on a ring, the customer 20 need enter only hand data. Over a period of time, the customer 20 may enter as much or as little body data 25 as the customer 20 needs to enter, based on the on-line shopping needs of the customer 20. Further, some of the body data 25 can be extrapolated by the fit system 12 utilizing the body data 25 that is provided by the customer 20.

Once entered, the body data 25 is maintained in the body data sub- database 40B and can be retrieved for later shopping and trying on of another article of wear 27. The customer 20 can review and change the body data 25 in the body data sub-database 40B anytime utilizing the body image web page 501 A - 501 C independently of the merchant. Stated another way, the customer enters the body data 25 directly to the fit system 12.

With this design, the fit system 12 allows the customer 20 to easily record and monitor changes in the body data 25 of the customer 20. In summary, the fit system program 34 is operative with the fit system processor 36 to generate the customer body image 500 using the body data 25. Additionally, the fit system program 34 can be operative with the fit system processor 36 (i) to provide the body data 25 to a merchant 22 to custom tailor an article of wear, (ii) to track and monitor body data changes in the customer 20 over time, e.g. monitoring weight changes as a result of a diet/exercise program, (iii) to generate computer simulated customer body images 500 of the customer from alternate perspectives as a vanity in an interactive mirror application, (iv) to use the statistical aspect of body data 25 to improve existing sizes and or define new sizes for article-of-wear manufacturers, and (v) to try on an article of wear from a web based merchant 22.

The fit system 12, using the customer identifier 42, retrieves the body data 25 of the customer 25 from the fit storage device 30. The fit system 12 generates the customer body image 500, e.g. a simulated image of the customer 20.

Article database

Referring to Figure 6, the article data 52 for each type of article of wear can include (i) an article identifier 602 that is used to identify the particular article of wear; (ii) article specific data such as article type 604, article style 606, article color 608, fabric/material description 610, texture/smoothness properties 612, stretch properties 614, thickness/weight 616, breath-ability 618 of the article of wear; (iii) for a size small 620 article of wear, article dimensions that include multiple article length dimensions 622A and multiple article circumference dimensions 622B, and the images 624; (iv) for a medium 626 article of wear, article dimensions that include multiple article length dimensions 628A and multiple article circumference dimensions 628B and the images 630; (v) for a large 632 article of wear, article dimensions that include multiple article length dimensions 634A and multiple article circumference dimensions 634B and the images 636; and (vi) for an extra large 638 article of wear, article dimensions that include multiple article length dimensions 640A and multiple article circumference dimensions 640B and the images 642.

The article data 52 is preferably the actual internal dimensions for each size. The dimension data for size S 620 may be stored as length dimension data 622A and girth or circumference data 622B. These dimensions are those that a tailor would consider necessary to provide a fit to different parts of the body segment.

Each of the images 624, 630, 636, 642 preferably includes a combination of an article image 705 and a model body image 707 (Illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B). For each of the sizes and the colors of the article of wear, the images 624, 630, 636, 642 are generated.

More specifically, each of the images 624, 630, 636, 642 preferably includes the article image 705 positioned on the model body image 707. Each of the images 624, 630, 636, 642 can be created in a number of ways. For example, each of the images 624, 630, 636, 642 can be generated by positioning the particular article-of-wear on a model body. The model body can be that of a human or a mannequin. Subsequently, a digital picture can be taken of the article of wear on the model body to create one of the images. The following is an example of the images 624 that are taken for a small sized article of wear pursuant to the present invention. Referring to Figure 6, for a small sized 620 style A 652, color 1 654 article, (i) three digital pictures 656 are taken with this particular article positioned on an Asian model body 650, (ii) three digital pictures are taken with this particular article positioned on an African model body 650, and (iii) three views are taken with this particular article positioned on a European model body 650. Similarly, for a small sized 620 style A 652, color 2 654 article, (i) three views 656 are taken with this particular article positioned on an Asian model body 650, (ii) three views are taken with this particular article positioned on an African model body 650, and (iii) three views are taken with this particular article positioned on a European model body 650. Similarly, for a small sized 620 style A 652, color 3 654 article, (i) three views 656 are taken with this particular article positioned on an Asian model body 650, (ii) three views are taken with this particular article positioned on an African model body 650, and (iii) three views are taken with this particular article positioned on a European model body 650.

This same pattern of images is repeated for each of the articles of wear and each of the different sizes. Stated another way, multiple image views are duplicated for different ethnic body styles of Asian, African and European 650, and for different sizes 620 and for different styles 652 and for different colors 654.

In summary, multiple images (three are illustrated, but may be any number of images depending upon the article of wear) are provided that show different views of the model body wearing the article of wear.

Preferably, each of the images 624, 630, 636, 642 also includes anchor points 646 on the image where the visual indicators 704 are added. The anchor points 646 are pixel locations in the images where the visual indicators 704 can be positioned. As a simplified illustration, for example, in a particular image, the fit at the shoulder circumference of the image where to display the visual indicator is at pixel location (150, 75) as an offset from the top left corner, and the fit at the left upper arm length of the fashion model where to display the length fit visual indicator is at pixel (300, 33), then these two anchor points are part of the image definition file and are specified as data View1[C1 (150,75), L1 (300,33)] as an addendum to the image data file. Thus typically, an image data file also has the anchor point data 648 in pixel location as follows:

Viewl [C1(x,y), C2(x,y), C3(x,y), L1 (x,y), L2(x,y), L3(x,y)]; Preferably, the anchor point data is used for one of the images, that best illustrates the fitness of the article. Alternatively, some or all of the image views may be overlaid with visual indications and would have anchor point data as follows:

View2 [C1 (x,y), C2(x,y), C3(x,y), L1(x,y), L2(x,y), L3(x,y)]; View3 [C1(x,y), C2(x,y), C3(x,y), L1(x,y), L2(x,y), L3(x,y)]; The article data is preferably initially generated by the merchant and maintained in the merchant system 22A of the merchant 22. The article data for each of the article of wear offered for sale by the merchant 22 is generated by merchant and then transferred to the article database in the merchant system 22A.

Visual Indicators The fit system program 34 is operative with the fit system processor 36 to generate one or more visual indicators 704 that are visually displayed on the combined fit image 702. The visual indicators 704 represent how well one or more segments of article of wear 27 will fit and/or feel on a customer body 29 of the customer 20

As provided herein, the one or more visual indicators 704 can be generated by the fit system 12 by comparing article data 52 that relates to the article of wear 27 with body data 25 that relates to the customer 20 More specifically, the visual indicators 704 can be generated by comparing the body dimensions 41A with the corresponding article dimensions 53 Preferably, the visual indicators take into account the fabric stretch, texture/smoothness and/or thickness properties of the article of wear 27 As provided herein, the visual indicators 704 allow the customer 20 to try on an article of wear by looking at the combined fit image 702 that includes these visual indicators 704, article image 705 and the model body image 707 to illustrate how well an article of wear fits and feels on the customer 20 in different places, such as the shoulder, waist, bosom, wrist, sleeve length etc More specifically, one or more of the visual indicators 704 can be generated by comparing one or more of the article circumferences 56 of the article of wear 27 with corresponding one or more body circumferences of the customer body 29 of the customer 20 For example, a visual indicator can be generated by comparing the article circumference at the waist area with the body circumference at the waist area

After comparing the article circumferences 56 with the body circumferences, the fit system 12 generates one or more circumference symbols 709 The circumference symbols 709 illustrate the relationships between the one or more articles circumferences 56 and the one or more body circumferences of the customer body 29 By reviewing the circumference symbols 709, the customer 20 can estimate how the article of wear 27 will feel, fit and look

Similarly, one or more of the visual indicators 704 can be generated by comparing one or more article lengths 54 of the article of wear 27 with one or more corresponding body lengths of the customer body 29 of the customer 20 For example, a visual indicator can be generated by comparing the article length at the sleeve with the body length at the sleeve

After comparing the article lengths 54 with the corresponding body lengths, the fit system 12 generates one or more length symbols 711 The length symbols 711 illustrate the relationships between the one or more articles lengths 54 and the one or more body lengths of the customer body 29. By reviewing the length symbols 711 , the customer 20 can estimate how the article of wear 27 will feel, fit and look. As provided herein, the circumference symbols 709 and the length symbols 711 can be illustrated by a number of alternate ways, including a number code 719, a graphic code 721 and/or a color code 723. The codes 719, 721 , 723 represent the relationship between a particular body dimension 41 A of the customer body 29 of the customer 20 and a corresponding article dimension 53 of the article of wear 27.

Figures 7A- 8, illustrate how a number code 719 and a color code 723 can be used. More specifically, referring to Figure 7A, for a particularly sized article, if the article circumference 55 at the shoulder is between 1/8 inch and zero greater that the body circumference, the number symbol "C1" and/or the color 1 can be generated. Thus, in this example, the number symbol "01" and the color 1 represent that the article circumference 55 at the shoulder is between 1/8 and zero greater than the corresponding body circumference at the shoulder.

Similarly, if the article circumference 55 at the waist is between zero and % inch less than the body circumference, the number symbol "02" and/or the color 2 can be generated. Thus, in this example, the number symbol "02" and the color 2 represent that the article circumference 55 at the waist is between zero and % inch less than the body circumference at the waist.

If the article length 54 at the sleeve is between zero and % inch less than the body length, the number symbol "L2" and/or the color 2 can be generated. Thus, in this example, the number symbol "L2" and the color 2 represent that the article length 54 at the sleeve is between zero and Vi inch less than the body length at the sleeve.

In another example, if the article length 54 of the shirt is between zero and 1/8 inch greater than the body length, the number symbol "01" and/or the color 1 can be generated. Thus, in this example, the number symbol "01" and the color 1 represent that the article length 54 of the skirt is between 1/8 and zero greater than the corresponding body circumference. For the embodiment illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B, for the circumference symbols 709, (i) color 1 or C1 is assigned if the article circumference is between 1/8 inch to zero greater than the corresponding body circumference, (ii) color 2 or 02 is assigned if the article circumference is between zero to % inch less than the corresponding body circumference, (iii) color 2A or 03 is assigned if the article circumference is between 1/4 to 1/2 inch less than the corresponding body circumference, (iv) color 2B or 04 is assigned if the article circumference is between 1/2 to 3A inch less than the corresponding body circumference, (v) color 20 or 05 is assigned if the article circumference is between 3/4 to 1 inch less than the corresponding body circumference, (vi) color 3 or 06 is assigned if the article circumference is between 1/4 to 1/8 inch greater than the corresponding body circumference, (vii) color 3a or 07 is assigned if the article circumference is between 1/4 to 1/2 inch less than the corresponding body circumference, (viii) color 3b or 08 is assigned if the article circumference is between 1/2 to 3/4 inch greater than the corresponding body circumference, and (ix) color 30 or 09 is assigned if the article circumference is between 3/4 to 1 inch greater than the corresponding body circumference.

Similarly, for the embodiment illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B, for the length symbols 711 , (i) color 1 or L1 is assigned if the article length is between 1/8 inch to zero greater than the corresponding body length, (ii) color 2 or L2 is assigned if the article length is between zero to Vi inch less than the corresponding body length, (iii) color 2A or L3 is assigned if the article length is between 1/4 to 1/2 inch less than the corresponding body length, (iv) color 2B or L4 is assigned if the article length is between 1/2 to 3λ inch less than the corresponding body length, (v) color 20 or L5 is assigned if the article length is between 3/4 to 1 inch less than the corresponding body length, (vi) color 3 or L6 is assigned if the article length is between 1/4 to 1/8 inch greater than the corresponding body length, (vii) color 3a or L7 is assigned if the article length is between 1/4 to 1/2 inch less than the corresponding body length, (viii) color 3b or L8 is assigned if the article length is between 1/2 to 3/4 inch greater than the corresponding body length, and (ix) color 30 or L9 is assigned if the article length is between 3/4 to 1 inch greater than the corresponding body length. Figure 8 illustrates alternate circumference symbols 709 and alternate length symbols 711. As illustrated in Figure 8, one or more arrows 849 can be used to represent the circumference symbols 709 and length symbols 711.

Additionally, the visual indicators 704 can include one or more of the feel indicators 745 that indicate how the article of wear will feel based upon (i) a material utilized in the article of wear, (ii) a thickness of the article of wear, and/or (iii) a breath-ability of the article of wear.

The feel indicators 745 can include (i) an article description 722, (ii) a fabric stretch code 724, (iii) a smoothness code 726, (iv) a thickness code 728, and (v) a breathing code 730. In the embodiment illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B, each of the codes 724, 726, 728, and 730 is represented by mapping them on a numerical scale of one to ten. The particular number is highlighted for the particular article. However, other ways can be utilized to represent the codes 724, 726, 728, and 730. For example, the numerical scale can be from one to five or the scale could be alphabetical.

The feel indicators 745 allow the feel of the fabric properties to be simulated to the customer 20. Some of the feel indicators 745 such as fabric stretch property may be combined with the article dimensions to provide more realistic visual indicators to the customer. The particular code for a fabric is highlighted.

Fit Web pages 700A, 700B

Figures 7A and 7B illustrate two alternate fit web pages 700A, 700B that are generated by the fit system 12. Each of the fit web pages 700A, 700B includes the combined fit image 702 that was generated by the fit system 12. Importantly, each combined fit image 702 includes the article image 705, the model body image 707 and the visual indicators 704. The combined fit image 702 of the customer and article of wear enable the customer to visualize how the article of wear will fit, feel and look on different parts of the body. Particularly, the visual indicators 704 enable the customer to simulate how the article of wear feels on the body.

In the embodiments illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B, each fit web page 700A, 700B shows the combined fit image 702 from one or more alternate views 702 (three are shown). The multiple visual views represent how the article's design, style and color features appear by virtue of different image views. There may be more than three views or less than three views depending upon the complexity of the article. Further, as illustrated in Figures 7A and 7B, the visual indicators 704 are positioned near and/or overlaid over the article image 705. Specifically, Figure 7A can illustrate a combined fit image 702 that is generated if an Asian nationality customer 20 desires to try on a small, red colored article of wear. In particular, these views illustrate a small, Asian model body image 707 (Asian features not visible) that is covered with a small, red colored article image 705 (red not visible). Some of the visual indicators 704 are overlaid over the article image 705.

In this embodiment, the images of the combination of the small, Asian model body image 707 and the small, red colored article image 705 are retrieved from the merchant database. As a reminder, the images of the combination of the small, Asian model body image 707 and the small, red colored article image 705 were previously created by taking digital pictures of a small Asian model body (human or mannequin) wearing is a small red colored article.

Subsequently, the visual indicators 704 are calculated by comparing the small sized article dimensions with the customer body dimensions. The visual indicators are subsequently positioned in the appropriate anchor points to create the combined fit images 702 illustrated in Figure 7A. For example, in View 1 , C1 , C2 and C3 illustrate the circumference indicators at the waist, the sleeve and upper arm respectively, and L1 , L2, L3 and L4 illustrate the length indicators at the shoulder, the neck, the arm and the knee respectively.

Alternately, Figure 7B can illustrate a combined fit image 702 that is generated if a European nationality customer 20 desires to try on a large, blue colored article of wear. In particular, these views illustrates a large, European model body image 707 (European features not visible) that is covered with a large, blue colored article image 705 (blue not visible). Some of the visual indicators 704 are overlaid over the article image 705. In this embodiment, the images of the combination of the large, European model body image 707 and the large, blue colored article image 705 are retrieved from the merchant. As a reminder, the images of the combination of the large, European model body image 707 and the large, blue colored article image 705 were previously created by taking digital pictures of a large European model body (human or mannequin) wearing is a large blue colored article.

Subsequently, visual indicators 704 are calculated by comparing the large sized article dimensions with the customer body dimensions. The visual indicators are subsequently positioned in the appropriate anchor points to create the combined fit images 702 illustrated in Figure 7B. For example, in View 1 , C1 , C2 and 03 illustrate the circumference indicators at the waist, the sleeve and upper arm respectively, and L1 , L2, L3 and L4 illustrate the length indicators at the shoulder, the neck, the arm and the knee respectively. As a result of the design provided herein, the combined fit image 702 is able to simulate how a particular sized article with fit and feel on the customer 20. Preferably, the combined fit image 702 is in color so that the customer 20 can visualize how a particular color of article will look with their approximate skin tone. Each fit web page 700A, 700B also can include a TRY NEXT SIZE icon

740 and an up/down arrow 742 that is used by the customer to display combined fit images 702 with a size higher or lower that then the one displayed. A BUY icon 750 is used to enable the customer to make a purchase. Retrieve article data The article data 52 is retrieved from the merchant 22. The article data 52 may be retrieved from the fit system 12 or the article data may be retrieved from merchant system 22 and the article size database 916 therein as shown in Figure 9.

From this data file, article description data, article size data and the model body image and the article image for the customer selected design and color are retrieved. Determine Recommended Article Size

The customer 20 may select the initial size of article of wear 27 or the fit system 12 may determine the correct size of the article of wear 27. To accomplish this task, the fit system program 34 is operative with the fit system processor 36 to compare the body data 25 of the customer 20 with the article data 52 of the article of wear 27, until a size is found where each of the body dimensions 41 A is less than each of the article dimensions 56. The following is a simplified illustration of how the fit system 12 estimates the correct size of the article of wear if the article of wear 27 is an upper garment: If (article type = upper body garment)

1. retrieve body data 25 from the fit storage device 30 that relates to the shoulder body segment, the upper torso body segment, and the middle torso body segment;

2. retrieve article data 52 from the merchant 22 or fit storage device 30 relating to sizes small, medium, large, and extra large of the article of wear 27; IF [size small article shoulder circumference > body shoulder circumference

AND size small article upper torso circumference > body upper torso circumference AND

Size small article middle torso circumference > body middle torso circumference

AND Size small article middle torso length > body middle torso length)] THEN Article_size = Small

ELSE

IF [Size nedium article shoulder circumference > body shoulder circumference

AND Sizejnedium article upper torso circumference > body upper torso circumference AND Sizejnedium article middle torso circumference > body middle torso circumference

AND Sizejnedium article middle torso length > body middle torso length)]

THEN Artcile_size = Medium

ELSE IF [Sizejarge article shoulder circumference > body shoulder circumference

AND Sizejarge article upper torso circumference > body upper torso circumference AND

Sizejarge article middle torso circumference > body middle torso circumference

AND Sizejarge article middle torso length > body middle torso length)] THEN Article_size = Large

AND

IF [FIT SELECTED = TIGHT]

THEN Artlclejsize = Articlejsize

ELSE

IF [FIT SELECTED = LOOSE]

THEN Articlejsize = Article iext larger size

Compute Visual Indicators

The fit system program 34 is operative with the fit system processor 36 to generate the visual indicators 704 and illustrate the visual indicators 704 on the fit web pages 700A, 700B. The following is a brief outline of the logic that may be used to create the visual indicators 704:

IF[ body shoulder circumference = article shoulder circumference*Stretch factor

+ fitness margin( + 1/8") ]

THEN

FITNESS CODE C1 = FIT ELSE

IF[ body shoulder circumference = article shoulder circumference*Stretch factor

+ fitness margin( - 1/8")]

THEN

FITNESS CODE C1 = LITTLE TIGHT ELSE

IF[ body shoulder circumference = article shoulder circumference + fitness margin( + 1/4") inch ]

THEN

FITNESS CODE C1 = LITTLE LOOSE ELSE

IF[ body shoulder circumference = article shoulder circumference + fitness margin ( - %") inch ]

THEN

FITNESS CODE C1 = TIGHT ELSE

IF[ body shoulder circumference = article shoulder circumference + fitness margin ( + V2) inch ]

THEN FITNESS CODE C1 = LOOSE

ELSE

IF[ body shoulder circumference = article shoulder circumference + fitness margin ( +1 inch) ] THEN

FITNESS CODE C1 = VERY LOOSE

ELSE

IF[ body shoulder circumference = article shoulder circumference + fitness margin ( -1 inch) ] THEN

FITNESS CODE C1 = VERY TIGHT

IF[ body torso length = article torso length + fitness margin (+/- 1/8inch)]

THEN

FITNESS CODE L1 = FIT ELSE

IF[ body torso length = article torso length + fitness margin (- % inch)]

THEN

FITNESS CODE L1 = LITTLE SHORT

ELSE IF[ body torso length = article torso length + fitness margin (-+% inch)]

THEN

FITNESS CODE L1 = LITTLE LONG

ELSE

IF[ body torso length = article torso length + fitness margin (- inch)] THEN

FITNESS CODE L1 = SHORT

ELSE

IF[ body torso length = article torso length + fitness margin (+1/2 inch)]

THEN FITNESS CODE L1 = LONG

ELSE

IF[ body torso length = article torso length + fitness margin (-1 inch)]

THEN FITNESS CODE L1 = VERY SHORT ELSE

IF[ body torso length = article torso length + fitness margin (+1 inch)] THEN FITNESS CODE L1 = VERY LONG

The following simplified logic illustrates how the circumference symbols and the length symbols described above are determined for the actual display by the fit system 12.

IF [C1 = FIT] THEN Display Code C1= graphic/symbol A ELSE

IF [C1 = LITTLE TIGHT] THEN Display Code C1= graphic/symbol B ELSE

IF [01 = LITTLE LOOSE] THEN Display Code C1= graphic/symbol C ELSE IF [C1 = TIGHT] THEN Display Code C1= graphic/symbol D

ELSE

IF [01 = LOOSE] THEN Display Code 01= graphic/symbol E ELSE

IF [01 = VERY TIGHT] THEN Display Code C1= graphic/symbol F ELSE

IF [01 = VERY LOOSE] THEN Display Code C1= graphic/symbol G IF [L1 = FIT] THEN Display Code L1= graphic/symbol H ELSE

IF [L1 = LITTLE LONG] THEN Display Code L1= graphic/symbol I ELSE

IF [L1 = LITTLE SHORT] THEN Display Code L1= graphic/symbol J ELSE

IF [L1 = SHORT ] THEN Display Code L1= graphic/symbol K ELSE IF [L1 = LONG] THEN Display Code L1= graphic/symbol L

ELSE

IF [L1 = VERY SHORT] THEN Display Code L1= graphic/symbol M ELSE IF [L1 = VERY LONG] THEN Display Code L1= graphic/symbol N

Overlay the visual indicators to generate combined fit image 420

The following simplified logic illustrates how the length symbols and circumference symbols are incorporated into the combined fit image 702

Retrieve article views

For Vιew1 image with visual indication anchor point

Overlay DISPLAY CODE C1 graphic/symbol at anchor point C1 (x,y)

Overlay DISPLAY CODE L1 graphic/symbol at anchor point L1(x,y) For Vιew2 image with visual indication anchor point

Overlay DISPLAY CODE C1 graphic/symbol at anchor point C1(x,y)

Overlay DISPLAY CODE L1 graphic/symbol at anchor point L1(x,y)

For Vιew3 image with visual indication anchor point

Overlay DISPLAY CODE C1 graphic/symbol at anchor point C1 (x,y) Overlay DISPLAY CODE L1 graphic/symbol at anchor point L1 (x,y)

Generate and send Fit web pages

The fit web pages 700A, 700B are generated by the fit system 12 The fit web pages 700A, 700B are generated by specifying the location of the article images 705 and attaching the visual indicators 704 to the article images 705 Set Vιew1 location, attach viewl file

Set Vιew2 location, attach vιew2 file

Set view 3 location, attach view 3 file

Each fit web page 700A, 700B is further composed by adding article material/fabric description, feel codes and other legends, icons, and action buttons, before being sent to the customer 20 Merchant System

The merchant 22 may be an individual, a corporation, a partnership, the government, or any other entity

Referring back to Figure 1A, the merchant 22 uses the merchant interface 22A and the merchant network interface 22B to interact with the fit system 12 and the customer 20 With reference to Figure 9, the merchant interface 22A preferably includes (i) a merchant processing device 900 such as a central processing unit, (n) a merchant data storage device 902, (in) a merchant operating system 900, (iv) a merchant web application program 908, (v) a fit system merchant program 910, (vi) merchant web page data 912, (vii) merchant inventory data 914, and (viii) article-of-wear database 916. Additionally, the merchant interface 22A can include (i) an input device (not shown), such as a keyboard, mouse or voice recognition software, and (ii) a merchant display device (not shown), such as a video monitor.

The merchant network interface 22B can be a modem or some other electronic or voice communication system that allows the merchant 22 to interact with the fit system 12 and the customer 20. The merchant network interface 22B preferably connects the merchant 22 to the global computer network 24.

As provided merchant interface 22A maintains and stores the article data 52 in the article database 916. Figure 6 illustrates the structure 600 of the article database for storing the article data. The article database 916 can be maintained by each merchant 22 in the article database 916. The article data 52 enables the fit system 12 to generate the combined fit image 702 with the article image 705 and the model body image 707 with the visual indicator 704 that represent the fitness and feel of the article of wear.

Preferably, the merchant system 22 generates one or more merchant web pages 1000A, 1000B that can be accessed by the customer 20. The merchant web pages 1000A, 1000B allow the merchant 22 to provide a virtual store that can be accessed by the customer 20. Figure 10A illustrates a representative example of a merchant web page 1000A that is displayed on the customer interface 20A. The customer 20 may browse the merchant web page 1000A and select an article of wear 1002, 1016 (two are illustrated) to try on before making a purchase decision. Each article of wear 1002 preferably includes a picture 1004 of the item, a description 1006 of the item and may include design selection 1008, color selection 1010, fit selection 1012 and size selection 1014.

The merchant web page 1000A preferably includes a link to the fit system 12. This feature allows the customer to view a combined image 702. In Figure 10A, the customer is linked to the fit system by clicking onto the fit it icon 1020.

Further, the merchant interface 22A interfaces with the fit system 12 to send article data relating to the article of wear. Additionally, the merchant interface 22 is able to receive and process orders for the articles of wear from the customer

Figure 10B illustrates that merchant web page 1000B can transfer the merchant identifier 1032, the article identifier 1034, the design 1036, the color 1038, the desired fit 1040, the size 1042 and the customer identifier 1044 to the fit system by clicking upon the send icon 1046

Customer Interface

The customer interface 20A allows the customer 20 to contact and interact with the merchant interface 22A and the fit system 12 The customer interface 20A preferably includes a computer system having (i) an input device, such as a keyboard, mouse or voice recognition software, (n) a customer display device, such as a video monitor, (in) a processing device such as a central processing unit, and (iv) a data storage device The customer network interface 20B can be a modem The customer 20 may be an individual, a corporation, a partnership, the government, or any other entity

Fit System Operation - Customer Body Image

In summary the fit system program 34 is operative with the fit system processor 36 to generate the customer body image 500 by performing one or more of the steps illustrated in Figure 11 and described below In this simplified illustration, not all of these steps may be used, other steps may be used and these steps may not necessarily be in the order illustrated

Initially, at step 1100 the customer utilizes the customer interface to connect to the fit system in response, at step 1102, the fit system generates the first body image web page that can be viewed on the customer interface Next, at step 1104, the customer enters the customer identifier into the first body image web page If the customer Identifier is located, the body data of the customer is displayed 1118

If the customer Identifier is not found, the fit system prompts for new account data entry Next, at step 1106, the Customer some of their body data, and the customer clicks the show me icon At step 1108, the fit system receives the data and creates a new database entry and sends the second body image web page with the generic body image At step 1110, the customer reviews the dimensions, makes alterations, and sends the changes to the fit system. At step 1112, the fit system receives the body data, updates body data database and creates the customer body image. At step 1114, the fit system sends the customer body image to the customer interface. At step 1116, the customer reviews the customer body image and makes changes if necessary. At step 1120 customer interacts with body image web page to see zoom and or different angle views, and fit system responds. Fit System Operation - Combined Images

The fit system program 34 is operative with the fit processor 36 to generate the combined fit image 702 by performing one or more of the steps illustrated in Figure 12 and described below. In this simplified illustration, not all of these steps may be used, other steps may be used and these steps may not necessarily be in the order illustrated.

At step 1200, the customer views an articles-of-wear on the Merchant web page and reviews the article based on color/description/picture. Next, at step 1202, the customer selects the color/size/fit and then clicks fit icon next to picture of the article. At step 1204, merchant web page 1000B is displayed showing merchant identifier, article identifier, customer selected article data carried over from web page 1000A and space for entering customer identifier. At step 1206, customer enters/creates customer identifier. At step 1208, customer clicks SEND and a data link is established with the fit system 12. At step 1210, the fit system checks its data bases for an existing customer identifier to find sequence number.

At step 1212, if the fit system does not find an existing file for the customer, then at step 1216, the fit system sends the first body image web page to the customer interface. At step 1218, the customer can enter customer identifier and then enter the body data into the first body image web page and send the body data to the fit system. At step 1220, the fit system receives the body data and saves the body data in the body data database 40B. At step 1214, alternately, if the fit system locates the customer identifier, then at step 1222, the fit system retrieves the body data of the customer from the body data database 40B. At step 1224, the fit system connects to merchant system and sends the article identifier and subsequently, the merchant system forwards the article data-file, article images positioned on the model body images. The article images represent the selected size and color to the fit system. The model body images correspond to the nationality of the customer and/or the skin tone. At step 1226, the recommended article size is determined. At step 1228, with this information, the fit system determines the fit indicators and/or the feel indicators by comparing the article data with the body data of the customer. Next, at step 1230, those images representing selected article and customer racial characteristics are extracted from the article image file. At step 1232, the fit system generates the combined fit image that includes the visual indicators. Next, at step 1234, the combined fit image web page is composed and forwarded to the customer interface. At step 1236, the customer may select to try another article size. At step 1238, the customer can decide to buy the article of wear by clicking a buy icon. More specifically, at step 1240, upon clicking of the buy icon, the fit system transfers the request to the merchant system to process order. Finally, at step 1242, the customer can place the order with the merchant.

Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with respect to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. For example, the fit system and the merchant system can be combined. Further, with this design, the customer can interact directly with the merchant system without the benefit of the global network. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the descriptions of the preferred versions contained herein.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A method for using a computer to simulate how an article of wear will fit on a customer body of a customer, the method comprising the step of: generating a visual indicator of how the article of wear will fit on the customer body of the customer.
2. The method of claim 1 including the step of providing a visual article image of the article of wear and the step of positioning the visual indicator near the visual article image of the article of wear.
3. The method of claim 2 wherein the step of positioning the visual indicator includes the step of overlaying the visual indicator over the visual article image of the article of wear.
4. The method of claim 2 including the step of providing a visual model body image of a portion of a model body within a portion of the article image.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of comparing article data that relates to the article of wear with body data that relates to the customer body.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of comparing an article circumference of a portion of the article of wear with a body circumference of a portion of the customer body.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of providing a circumference symbol that illustrates the relationship between the article circumference and the body circumference.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of indicating how the article of wear will feel based upon the material utilized in the article of wear.
9. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step indicating a thickness of the article of wear.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of comparing an article length of a portion of the article of wear with a body length of a portion of the customer body of the customer.
11. The method of claim 10 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of providing a length symbol that represents the relationship between the article length and the body length.
12. The method claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of generating a number code that illustrates the relationship between a body dimension of the customer body and a corresponding article dimension of the article of wear.
13. The method claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of generating a graphic code that illustrates the relationship between a body dimension of the customer body and a corresponding article dimension of the article of wear.
14. The method claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of generating a color code that illustrates the relationship between a body dimension of the customer body and a corresponding article dimension of the article of wear.
15 The method of claim 1 wherein the step of generating a visual indicator includes the step of generating a number code, a graphic code and a color code that illustrate the relationship between a body dimension of the customer body and a corresponding article dimension of the article of wear
16 The method of claim 1 including the step of using the computer to select a recommended size for the article of wear for the customer
17 A method for using a computer to simulate an appearance of a customer body of a customer, the customer body including a plurality of body dimensions, the method comprising the steps of providing at least one of the body dimensions of the customer body to a fit system, and generating a computer simulated visual customer body image of a portion of the customer body based upon at least one of the body dimensions
18 The method of claim 17 wherein the step of providing the body dimensions includes the step of providing a height, a weight, and a gender of the customer and the step of generating the customer body image includes the step of generating the customer body image utilizing the height, the weight and the gender of the body
19 The method of claim 17 wherein the step of providing the body dimensions includes the step of providing the nationality background of the customer
20 The method of claim 17 including the step of generating a list of facial structures
21 The method of claim 17 wherein the step of generating the customer body image including the step of using at least on of the facial structures to generate the customer body image
22. The method of claim 17 including the step of providing a body characteristic, the body characteristic including a flesh tone of the skin of the body.
23. An apparatus for simulating how an article of wear will fit on a customer body of a customer, the apparatus comprising: a storage device; a program stored in the storage device; and a processor connected to the storage device, the processor being operative with the program to generate a visual indicator of how the article of wear will fit on the customer body of the customer.
24. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to provide a visual article image of the article of wear and position the visual indicator near the visual article image of the article of wear.
25. The apparatus of claim 24 wherein the processor is operative with the program to overlay the visual indicator over the visual article image of the article of wear.
26. The apparatus of claim 24 wherein the processor is operative with the program to provide a visual model body image of a portion of a model body within a portion of the article image.
27. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate the visual indicator by comparing article data that relates to the article of wear with body data that relates to the customer body.
28. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate the visual indicator by comparing an article circumference of a portion of the article of wear with a body circumference of a portion of the customer body.
29. The apparatus of claim 28 wherein the processor is operative with the program to provide a circumference symbol that illustrates the relationship between the article circumference and the body circumference.
30. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate the visual indicator that includes indicating how the article of wear with feel based upon the material utilized in the article of wear.
31. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate the visual indicator that includes indicating a thickness of the article of wear.
32. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate a visual indicator by comparing an article length of a portion of the article of wear with a body length of a portion of the customer body of the customer.
33. The apparatus of claim 32 wherein the processor is operative with the program to provide a length symbol that represents the relationship between the article length and the body length.
34. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate a number code that illustrates the relationship between a body dimension of the customer body and a corresponding article dimension of the article of wear.
35. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate a graphic code that illustrates the relationship between a body dimension of the customer body and a corresponding article dimension of the article of wear.
36. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate a color code that illustrates the relationship between a body dimension of the customer body and a corresponding article dimension of the article of wear.
37. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program
38. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the processor is operative with the program to select a recommended size for the article of wear for the customer.
39. An apparatus for simulating an appearance of a customer body of a customer, the customer body including a plurality of body dimensions, the apparatus comprising: a storage device; a program stored in the storage device; and a processor connected to the storage device, the processor being operative with the program to generate a computer simulated visual customer body image of a portion of the customer body based upon at least one of the body dimensions.
40. The apparatus of claim 39 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate the customer body image utilizing a height, a weight and a gender of the customer body.
41. The apparatus of claim 39 wherein the processor is operative with the program to generate the customer body image by using one or more facial structures of the customer.
PCT/US2000/017478 1999-06-12 2000-06-23 System and method for simulating how an article of wear will appear and feel on an individual WO2001001235A1 (en)

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US14115299 true 1999-06-25 1999-06-25
US60/141,152 1999-06-25
US09/570,232 2000-05-12
US09570232 US6938022B1 (en) 1999-06-12 2000-05-12 Method and apparatus for facilitating an anonymous information system and anonymous service transactions

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