As the old saying goes, the future is now.
A company called
Cyberdyne Systems Iconeme is rolling out mannequins equipped with Bluetooth so they can "talk" to shoppers passing by via their smartphones. "Shoppers" (aka people randomly strolling by window displays) can get information about the clothes the mannequins are wearing, how to buy them, what they cost and more. Via CBS News:
The technology, combining bluetooth transmissions and a new cellphone app, is the creation of mannequin makers and tech entrepreneurs Jonathan Berlin and Adrian Coe. When shoppers who have downloaded their Iconeme app pass by a store displaying clothes on bluetooth-enabled mannequins - they are sent an alert to their phone. The idea is to bring mannequins, which Berlin's family has been manufacturing since 1951, into the digital age.
Or, another interpretation of the "idea" is to turn us all into drone slaves as mannequin overlords take over our brains and begin dictating our every action. Don't forget, the mannequin — a seemingly innocent human model supposedly designed to help sell us clothes — is really just a distant cousin of our robot overlords. Despite most people being utterly terrified of them, robots have managed to evolve so far that not only have they convinced a lot of us they'd be cool sex partners, they pretty much only need us to occasionally give them a lift.
"You open up the app, and up pops all the mannequins that are in the window...you can drill down to see more detailed products with the prices," Berlin told CBS News. "You can share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter...you can buy [the clothes on the mannequin] directly from the website."
For those with ridiculous, paranoid delusions about mannequins taking over society like an intergalactic race of pod people, loosen the damn tinfoil on your head, OK? According to Reviewed, there's no secret government agency forcing you to learn more about skinny jeans on some random mannequin because the smart mannequin experience is easy to opt out of. OR SO THEY SAY.
Iconeme says the beacons will provide retailers with valuable analytics, including which products shoppers view most, as well as their gender, age, and occupation. If this sounds like an invasion of privacy, Iconeme is quick to clarify that users can choose which information the app hands out in the privacy settings menu.
For now, these smart mannequins are only available at four high-end stores in the UK: House of Fraser in Aberdeen, Jaeger and Hawes & Curtis in London, and Bentalls in Kingston upon Thames. But the company plans to expand to more stores in the UK, and eventually cross the pond to invade U.S. retailers.
To recap, this is becoming real: