The clever tape aimed at getting the measure of online disappointments
Can these techie entrepreneurs with their BlueTape prototype solve the problems of frustrated online fashion shoppers?
Up to one-third of all clothes bought online are returned, largely due to customers misjudging clothing sizes when ordering. This resulted in losses of over $6bn in online fashion retail revenues worldwide last year.
But the new BlueTape handheld unit is a Bluetooth-connected tape measure which aims to reduce clothing returns for online retailers by helping customers find the right fit, first time.
Guided by a simple smartphone app, customers take measurements as they would with an ordinary measuring tape.
Sensors on the device transmit these measurements to the app via Bluetooth, and it means that the retailer can provide the user with a recommended "best fit" size for the particular item of clothing.
The device also helps to identify the customer's size in shops that operate different sizing systems. This is widespread through the retail world and is often called "vanity sizing".
Brian Henry, who has a background in software development, pitched his idea at the PCH Hardware Hackathon at DCU last weekend at which technology enthusiasts developed 11 new 'hardware devices' from scratch in just 54 hours.
Brian collaborated with six others and they were awarded €3,000 cash, a service design workshop with Each&Other, and a free starter office for four months at the DCU Innovation Campus.
The BlueTape team are going to build on a B2B model - and while they focused their pitch on the fashion industry at the two-day Hackathon, they also see opportunities for the device in health and fitness.
Second place went to Zero, designed to reduce the time for shoe changes during triathlons, and third went to AutoAngel, which developed a car emergency call system.