Amazon is hunting for participants willing to let it take 3D scans of their body in exchange for a $25 gift card.
Ads for the study have been targeting individuals on Instagram and Facebook over the last week. If you participate Amazon will take a series of 3D scans, photos and videos of your body – both fully clothed and in form-fitting swimwear – and record your height and weight.
The 30-minute research sessions are being conducted as part of ongoing research by Amazon Body Labs to learn more about diversity in bodies. The company claims that the data collected will be used for internal product research and not for marketing purposes.
Body Labs, the 3D imaging company, doing the scans was acquired by Amazon in 2017. Prior to the partnership, Body Labs primarily worked in the fashion industry helping brands to design customised apparel.
Body Labs originally got its start in law enforcement, the business beginning as a quest for a Brown University professor to help Virginia police solve a murder at a 7-Eleven. Michael Black translated data from surveillance footage into a statistical model which eventually helped police to confirm the suspect’s height. This model became the basis for Body Labs and the company was soon keen to collect scans of different shapes and sizes to fill its database.
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Body Labs is not Amazon’s first foray into image-scanning. The company has been under scrutiny recently for the ethical implications of its face-scanning technology, Rekognition. The UCLU have been particularly critical of Amazon in response to it marketing its facial recognition software to government agencies – including the FBI and ICE – and helping them to deploy it. This occurred despite warnings from consumers, employees, members of congress and shareholders.
If you’re interested in participating in Body Labs’ study, you’ll have to schedule an appointment before June 30. Participants are required to sign non-disclosure agreements before volunteering their data.