Just in case you find a range of over 600 styles and colours of t-shirts a little overwhelming to choose from, UNIQLO has very thoughtfully created a way to help you make a decision.

On Wednesday the Japanese retailer’s Pitt St store revealed the “UMood” machine – a highly scientific version of the mood ring that we all relied on in the early 90s to determine our true feelings. The machine uses neurological technology to assess the user’s mood and recommend a t-shirt to suit them. It is the first technology of it’s kind to be used in a retail store in Australia.

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Users are encouraged to sit in the “UMood” as a wearable sensor is attached to their head. They are then shown 10 short videos or images on the screen in front of them as the sensor monitors brain activity and gauges the user’s reaction to determine a final result. 

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The machine uses basic neuroscience to measure brain activity, using a single sensor, which is able to monitor activity in the frontal lobe of the brain. This section of the brain has been proven as the source of our personality – determining what we do and don’t like and our reactions and emotions to what we see. The machine processes this data through a complicated algorithm set up by Japanese academic group Dents ScienceJam, to be calculated against a series of metrics to determine the user’s reaction, interest, attention, stress and drowsiness. The signal returns as a single score, which is then matched against scores given to each of UNIQLO’s 600 t-shirt options. Finally, the user receives a recommendation of five shirts to choose from which should match their current mood. Whether they are feeling “loved up”, “adventurous” or “seeing red” the “UMood” can recommend shirt for every emotion.

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For what seems like a fairly complicated process, it has yet to be determined just how accurate the “UMood” is, but with such a high amount of choice who wouldn’t want a little bit of help to hone in on the perfect t-shirt.

Whether a brief stunt or designed to hang around for a while, this type of technology is definitely a move in the right direction – with personalisation high on the list for customers looking for a positive in-store experience. UNIQLO is once again pushing the boundaries of in-store technology experimentation, and I for one hope that more retailers in Australia are encouraged by their example and follow suit.

Author Pippa Kulmar

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