TechCrunch has discovered that Amazon has acquired Body Labs, an organization with a mentioned purpose of constructing true-to-life 3D body fashions to make stronger quite a lot of b2b tool packages — equivalent to just about attempting on garments or photorealistic avatars for gaming.
One supply recommended the price-tag Amazon paid for Body Labs might be $100M+. However a 2nd well-placed supply recommended it’s nearer to $70M than $100M — so we’re pegging it at between $50M and $70M.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to remark at the acquisition.
New York founded Body Labs was once based in March 2013, in step with CrunchBase, and had raised greater than $10M throughout two funding rounds — remaining an $8M Series A in November 2015.
The corporate says its AI, laptop imaginative and prescient, and body modeling experience stems from analysis began at Brown University and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.
Co-founder and CEO Bill O’Farrell lists numerous prior exits in his Body Labs’ biog: particularly SpeechWorks, acquired by way of Nuance; CoSA acquired by way of Adobe; and OpenAir acquired by way of Netsuite. Apparently he can now chalk off a fourth.
At the time of writing Body Labs had no longer replied to requests for remark.
The corporate’s social media accounts had been quiet since August, which might point out the deal closed not too long ago.
Modeling the human body
Video demos on Body Labs’ web page display its tech getting used to reinforce a human with virtual content material as the individual strikes round by way of cladding them in a full-body gaming avatar ‘suit’ or including boxing gloves and bunny slippers to a dancing guy.
Body Labs additionally says its “SOMA Shape API” can be utilized to “accurately predict and measure the 3D shape of your customers using just a single image”, suggesting this may energy “custom apparel” or be utilized by vogue ecommerce outlets short of to supply sizing suggestions.
The corporate additionally suggests further uses-cases for its ‘fat and all’ 3D body modeling tech in well being and health monitoring, or even apparatus design and production.
In a video from 2015, O’Farrell suggests extremely correct 3D body scans will permit “the body itself [to] be delivered as the platform and around which goods and services are designed, manufactured, bought and sold, recommended.”
It’s no longer transparent precisely what Amazon intends to do with Body Labs however there are many possible use-cases that mesh with and may lengthen its present trade pursuits if the startup has the tech chops to ship correct 3D body fashions at scale.
For instance, in addition to promoting different manufacturers’ garments by means of its ecommerce market, Amazon has been ramping up its personal vogue trade lately, increasing and rising its non-public label vogue manufacturers.
Being ready to supply customized are compatible may give Amazon’s non-public label vogue manufacturers an edge, whilst making improvements to sizing predictions normally for Amazon consumers may assist power garments buying groceries throughout its platform and assist shrink returns from garments that don’t are compatible.
A up to date Amazon Prime member perk gives loose returns for a try-before-you-buy garments provider known as Amazon Wardrobe. And the provider would obviously be inexpensive for Amazon to run if fewer other folks returned fewer pieces of garments.
CEO Jeff Bezoz has lengthy indexed vogue as considered one of two key spaces he sees underpinning his sizable ambitions for Amazon’s ecommerce empire (meals being the opposite).
The corporate additionally has large extant pursuits in any other possible space the place Body Labs’ tech may are compatible: gaming.
It runs its personal video games studios — fed by way of previous acquisitions equivalent to Double Helix Games, which it picked up again in 2014. It additionally distributes Lumberyard, a loose AAA sport engine built-in with AWS and Twitch; and provides GameLift, a controlled provider for deploying and managing servers for multiplayer video games.
This summer season it emerged the corporate had acquired GameSparks, a “backend as a service” for video games builders too. So it has a effectively established hobby in pushing the envelop on online game content material — say by way of with the ability to be offering players photorealistic avatars.
And that doesn’t even scratch the outside of ways 3D body model generation may play within the VR global, in case you’re taking an extended view on possible use-cases. (Or certainly, for AR and AR gaming functions.)
Games is normally a space of strategic hobby for Amazon no longer best for the reason that content material will also be extremely common and profitable in its personal proper, however as differently to power utilization of its cloud computing department, Amazon Web Services. The extra content material it could possibly host, the extra income AWS can generate.
Yet any other possible use-case for 3D body model tech might be within the comms area the place Amazon has not too long ago been making a brand new play, together with within the visible communications area — as a part of a far larger push to possess the sensible domestic by way of liberating a blitz of attached units housing its Alexa voice AI.
This May Amazon outted an Echo instrument with a display geared toward circle of relatives videocalling.
Oh hiya there, Echo Look
It has additionally launched any other Echo instrument (known as Look) that’s particularly designed for taking taste selfies. So it’s imaginable the corporate may well be fascinated about tech that may energy visible transformations for amusing and fashion-based functions — equivalent to by way of with the ability to upload real-time results to other folks’s faces and our bodies throughout an Echo Show videocall, for instance, a los angeles Snapchat selfie lenses.
And Body Labs has a cell AI known as Mosh for including particular results pictures the usage of in keeping with its tech detecting and adapting to the individual’s pose.
Or — for simpler, ecommerce-related functions — to permit customers of its Echo Show to just about blow their own horns a way merchandise they’re pondering of shopping for by way of having laptop imaginative and prescient tool digitally animating it on a photorealistic body model. So they might, for instance, ask their mum for a 2nd opinion at the get dressed they’ve been eyeing up — after which simply ask Alexa to shop for it.
How Amazon may do a lot more with Echo by way of including a digital camera to power combined truth into the lounge was once a subject TechCrunch dug into again in 2015.
However one key attention right here, within the explicit case of Body Labs, is it’s no longer transparent precisely what core generation the corporate is the usage of for producing correct 3D scans.
In a few of its video demos Body Labs will also be observed the usage of person-sized scanners to generate extremely correct body fashions — a generation that obviously does no longer scale for the type of large client functions Amazon can be after. Though it additionally claims so to extrapolate body fashions from “everyday photos or videos”.
One of its co-founders, and in addition its science marketing consultant, Dr Michael Black, is a pc imaginative and prescient professional who has labored on modeling lifelike 3D human avatars by way of extrapolating pose knowledge from pictures — and that roughly means, if it proves powerful sufficient, would provide a extra viable path for Amazon to scale viable body fashions to hundreds of thousands of customers.
So it’s additionally imaginable the Body Labs acquisition is most commonly an acquihire for Amazon, geared toward choosing up skill and experience for dealing with the knowledge it’s hoping to assemble by means of its Echo Look instrument which — significantly — comprises an on-board intensity sensor so might be used to extract 3D knowledge on body shape by means of customers’ taste selfies.
As we wrote in April, the Echo Look taste selfie instrument very a lot seems like some way for Amazon to reap other folks’s complete duration selfies to begin to construct its personal dataset for measurement and are compatible, which smartly dovetails with its ecommerce vogue ambitions.
Bezos may subsequently be hoping to position Body Labs’ workforce to paintings on opposite engineering the body knowledge it pulls off Echo Look and arrive at viably correct 3D body fashions with out customers wanting their very own shower-sized in-home scanners. Instead they’d simply want to have an Echo Look sitting on their shelf.