By Aimee Chanthadavong

Up until now augmented reality screens like the virtual change room has always been 2D images, but CSIRO has announced a series of patents for its new Smart Vision research, including a real-time 3D face-sensing device.

The technology creates a 3D scan of a person’s face using algorithms that can turn 2D images from a mobile camera into a 3D model of the face. The technology calculates size so unlike other virtual try-on technologies, customers can try on and view products from any angle.

Jay Guo, CSIRO digital productivity and services flagship research director, told RetailBiz the technology takes existing technology to a new level which he said will help online retailers enrich the customer shopping experience.

“I think generally speaking any 3D visual image will make an experience realistic, such as playing games in 3D and not in animation,” he said.

“This same concept can apply to shopping online where this technology allows you to create a more intimate feeling about the things you want to buy. The other thing is it will help create a better shopping experience for some people who are less inclined to travel to different shops or people in regional communities where it’s harder to get to shops.

“Going forward, online retailing will be everywhere and anything that can make the online shopping experience more interesting is imperative.”

The Smart Vision technology has been licensed to online eyewear retailer, which has created an interactive app to allow customers to accurately see how frames would fit without going into a store.

“We didn't want to just replicate the offline shopping experience – we wanted to improve it,” said Jonathan Coon, CEO of's parent company 1-800 Contacts.

“Throughout the development stages, we've worked to create a tool that's so true-to-life it's not only fun, but actually useful in making a purchasing decision,”

“Up until now, augmented reality was something of a parlour trick. It was fun but just not accurate or easy enough to be useful. Our hope is that the app will be to augmented-reality shopping what 'Toy Story' was for computer-generated animated films – it's just the beginning.”

To see the technology in action, see the video below.