If you’ve ever walked into a clothing store and been utterly daunted by the range of t-shirts on offer, Uniqlo wants to have a word with you (and read your mind).
The Japanese clothing retailer this morning launched its “UMood” brain scanning technology at its Sydney MidCity store in the Pitt St Mall. The idea is to let the machine determine the right t-shirt for you.
UMood’s brain scanning apparatus is connected to an iPad that does the grunt work behind the scenes. A short “calibration video” is shown after you sit down and relax, featuring images of colours flowing through water, people swimming in idyllic locations, wolfs, dogs and kittens. Sounds like a scene from Zoolander where Mugatu is trying to brainwash you.
The technology originated in Japan, with Dentsu Science Jam’s Kensei brain wave scanner that seeks to help satisfy consumers’ unconscious needs through brain wave signal analysis. Australian Consumer Nuroscientist Dr Phil Harris, who worked with Uniqlo to implement the system, offers that we already see elements of neuroscience infiltrate the advertising world and affect the imagery and construction of advertisements, and “it was really only a matter of time before leading brands built this into their in-store experience”.
UMood scans your brainwave signals in response to the video stimuli. You’re matched against some known frequency profiles, and your brainwave reading is equated to a mood and a few t-shirts that UMood thinks you’ll like are shown.
The feedback from those who have tried it was that in some cases the users were pleased with the t-shirt choice and others, not so much. Whether you choose to buy the t-shit after it offers you the options is still up to you, it’s certainly an engaging way to help you decide though.
UMood is going on tour in Uniqlo’s Sydney and Melbourne stores throughout October. Sydneysiders will be able to try it out for yourself in Uniqlo’s MidCity store in the Pitt St Mall this weekend (October 10-11, 10am-3pm), the Miranda store next week (October 15-16, 10-3pm and 4pm-8pm), and Parramatta next weekend (October 17-18, 10am-3pm). Melbourne readers will get a chance to check it out the following weekend at the Emporium store (October 24-25, 10am-3pm).
Thank you to Jason Murray and Leigh Stark for contributing to this article