Robo Mannequin

Robo Mannequin
Online Shopping, Robotic Morphing
University of Tartu in Estonia

Retailers like Adidas, Thomas Pink, and Hugo Boss ship clothing samples to’s studio in Tartu, Estonia, where staff put each item on a mannequin that can alter its shape thousands of combinations of hip width, chest diameter, sleeve length, and waist size. Then they photograph it. In the end, each item is associated with a giant database of images—and yes, one likely resembles you. So when you’re shopping at, you plug in your measurements and see the item you want on your body shape.The mannequin was developed by roboticists at the University of Tartu in Estonia.

To get the basic anatomy right, they enlisted the help of Human Solutions, a German firm specializing in body dimensions and ergonomic simulation. Then they built in 50 actuators, which push panels in and out to form different shapes, and covered it all in Pedilin, a material used on prosthetic limbs, so fabrics will drape like they would on real skin. says the process offers a quicker and more accurate image than 3-D rendering or computer-generated avatars. And the company’s database of body shapes may be more valuable than its software: Fitsme plans to sell retailers information on shoppers, which could help outfitters design clothing and target sales. And there’s probably some side gigs on the Internet for photo¬genic figure-morphing droids.


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