Barbie Kinect Application Lets Fans Wear Her Iconic Outfits

Australia, 5 April 2012: Barbie® fans who once dreamt of being able to swap their wardrobe for her enviable closet can now make this a reality – courtesy of a custom made application enabled through the magic of Microsoft’s XNA Games Studio and Kinect for Windows. BARBIE® THE DREAM CLOSET is launching in Sydney in April, followed by a road show travelling to Melbourne and Brisbane later in the year.

Australian fans are invited to step inside the larger than life hot pink, sparkly closet and stand in front of the augmented reality “mirror” to literally get doll’d up in the style queen’s most iconic, playful and glamorous outfits from the past five decades.

BARBIE® THE DREAM CLOSET has been created by Melbourne agency Gun Communications, in collaboration with Perth based developers, Adapptor. Gun was responsible for strategy, creative direction, event activation, PR and application design; with Adapptor providing programming and user experience design of the app. A demonstration BETA version of the app in testing is below. A video of the final working version will be available here on 12 April.

The technical solution consisted of a custom-made application using Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio combined with the  Kinect for Windows hardware and software development kit (SDK). The user interacts with the application through a natural gesture and overlay interface, augmented with audio and visual cues. Skeletal tracking is used to determine the position and orientation of the user and various Barbie™ outfits are rescaled and rendered over the user in real time. After selecting an outfit the user is prompted to strike a pose, and after a short countdown the resulting postcard-style photo is uploaded to a Pyramid-powered web server. All approved images (users aged 13+ only with guardian consent) can then displayed in a gallery section of the Barbie® Australian Facebook page.

Whilst ‘virtual fitting room’ applications are not new, the Barbie™ execution has focused on developing a more advanced ‘natural’ user interface with both navigation controls and outfits dynamically scaled to fit different user sizes. Scaling both menus and clothes was particularly important given the wide age range of end users (from 5 year old girls to young at heart mums). To facilitate these advancements, each outfit was photographed on a Barbie™ Doll, cut into multiple parts and then built individually and dynamically via the application.

JP Wollersheim, Microsoft® Group Product Manager – Kinect for Windows, will be showcasing BARBIE® THE DREAM CLOSET application at the official “Think Next” R&D Conference in Israel, to an audience of 2,500 people.

A final render of the 4m long wardrobe built by Synergy Australasia housing the BARBIE® THE DREAM CLOSET application.

‘We have been working on BARBIE® THE DREAM CLOSET activation for six months so it’s exciting to be launching in April. The Kinect for Windows technology provides brands with some great opportunities to engage their audience in new ways, and this Barbie™ execution was such a natural fit,’ explained Sarah Sproule, Director at Gun.

‘I know I once dreamed of being able to wear Barbie™ fashions – especially Barbie™ and The Rockers™ outfits! Barbie® THE DREAM CLOSET gives fans the opportunity to actually be a part of the brand they love, and  literally step inside the world of Barbie®.’

Adapptor Director, Marc Loveridge, said the project presented some fun opportunities, as well as a few unique challenges. ‘This project presented some interesting usability challenges, it’s not every day you have to cater for height differences in users when developing an app,’ explained Marc. ‘This is our fourth custom application using Kinect this year and the range of uses for the technology appears to be limitless. This was our first project to benefit from the latest Kinect for Windows hardware and SDK bringing improved image resolution from the depth and colour cameras resulting in a more lifelike mirror image.’

Some images of the different Barbie™ outfits used in the application are below.

BARBIE® THE DREAM CLOSET will launch at a media event in Sydney on 11 April,  2012. A series of public events will then be executed at Westfield centres during school holidays, commencing at Westfield Parramatta (NSW 12-15 April), Westfield Doncaster (VIC 28 June to 1 July), and Westfield Chermside (QLD 27-30 September).

For further information and media opportunities, contact Gun Communications:

Sarah Sproule // 0418 737 500  // sarah@guncommunications.com
Rachel Robertson // 0419 881 791 // rachel@guncommunications.com