AMAZON has conducted research involving 3D digital “scans” of people’s bodies in exchange for a $ 25 Amazon gift card.
AMAZON is currently doing the image study at two different sites in New York.
The advertisement led to the creation of an online form allowing potential participants to register for a 3D body scan session.
The study’s registration page states that AMAZON is taking 3D scans, photos and videos of the study participants, both fully dressed and dressed in a fitted swimsuit. Size and weight measurements are also collected during the session. Amazon indicates on the website that the data collected during the study is “exclusively for internal product search” and will not be used for marketing purposes.
Volunteers then receive a $ 25 AMAZON gift card in exchange for a 30-minute research session.
All participants were asked to sign an NDA, which required them to keep confidential everything they had experienced or learned. during the study.
The company’s body analysis research is conducted in collaboration with Body Labs, a 3D imaging company acquired by AMAZON in 2017.
The startup says its artificial intelligence technology can create a realistic 3D model of an individual’s body from an image and extrapolate features such as wrinkles. Body Labs can even add movement to models to see how certain tissues move and adapt.
The company worked primarily with clothing brands on custom clothing before being purchased by AMAZON.
The online shopping conglomerate conducted a similar study with Body Labs in New York last year.
Recently, Amazon’s footprint has grown in the fashion industry. According to a study by Coresight Research, Amazon is now the most-purchased clothing retailer in the country. The company owns its own brands of private label clothing and a clothing subscription service.
Although Body Labs has mainly worked with the fashion industry, it comes mainly from law enforcement.
In 2002, Virginia State Police appealed to Michael Black, a professor of computer science at Brown University, to solve a theft and murder of a 7-Eleven. Black and his students used “computer vision techniques” to solve the case, confirming evidence such as the size of the culprit. The body model and the data collected to help solve the crime then became the basis of Body Labs, co-founded by Black in 2013.
AMAZON has already worked with law enforcement. Activists and human rights organizations have complained about another technology of digitizing corporate images, recognition.
The ACLU, in particular, strongly criticized Amazon’s data practices, accusing the company of selling its facial recognition technology to the local police and the FBI. The company has also launched recognition with ICE. In tests conducted by the ACLU, the civil liberties organization found that facial surveillance technology had misidentified members of Congress, particularly people of color.
AMAZON is currently promoting the 3D scanning study through its Amazon Body Labs social media accounts. Through sponsored ads, including Instagram and Facebook, Amazon is able to provide study details to a user’s newsfeed while hiding public posts on their account pages.
“We have not made any announcements regarding Body Labs, but we are looking forward to to see this technology develop. “
Of course, participating in Amazon’s body scan studies is entirely voluntary, and we should note that it is relatively common for companies to do this type of consumer research. And someday, this type of 3D scanning technology might be so common that people don’t want to pay attention to studies like this. But for now, it’s still quite unique, and a little strange.