Amazon wants to 3D-scan volunteers’ bodies for a $25 gift card

Amazon is collecting data on the types of bodies inviting volunteers to scan, record and photograph them. As noted by Mashable the company is conducting a study to "learn about the diversity between body shapes" by offering a $ 25 gift card for a 30-minute appointment in New York. The participants will carry out a survey and will approve the 3D scans (more photos and videos) of their body, first with their daily attire, then with clothes "adjusted to the shape".

The study is in charge of Amazon Body Labs, originally a start that Amazon acquired in 2017. Body Labs produced detailed 3D body models for purchases and games; As noted Mashable emerged from an attempt to identify criminals with artificial vision techniques. And Amazon has put together this kind of body data before. The Wall Street Journal reported on a longer-term study in 2018, when Amazon requested to scan participants several times over a 20-week period, measuring changes in body shape over time .

Here, Amazon requests a much smaller commitment in a shorter period of time: it takes the participants until June 30 in one of the two locations in New York City. The company promises that it will use the data "exclusively for internal product research and not for marketing purposes". It also promises to provide the tight clothes that the volunteers will wear; A bikini is "preferred" for women, although they can also wear shorts and a sports bra.

Amazon does not specify the exact type of research, but is probably interested in applying body scanning technology to products such as the Amazon Echo Look, a "style assistant" camera that takes photos and analyzes them. Provide fashion tips. A body scanner, for example, could allow people to virtually try on clothes, something that online retailers have been trying to perfect for years.

The possibility of Amazon collecting detailed data on consumer bodies is scary, but for now, this is a fairly limited study. If Amazon wants to use 3D scanning in commercial technology, collecting information about various body shapes is incredibly important: it is much better than relying on a limited set of data points that could be biased by race or gender biases. And there are many more strange and invasive volunteer research concerts in other places. But there there is apparently a brief nod to how the regulation of privacy can change Amazon's behavior: if you're from Illinois, a state known for its strong biometric privacy protections, then it's not a body scan ( or gift card) for you.

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