Sometimes it’s challenging to comprehend innovations that far outpace their once-innovative forerunners.

Consider the introduction of motion pictures in the late 1800s, Polaroid photography in the 1940s, and digital photography in the 1970s. They weren’t incremental advances in technology. They were leaps forward.

Those advances come to mind now thanks to an anecdote and unrelated calculation about Embodee’s unique visualization technology.

First the anecdote. While demonstrating our virtual product experiences at an apparel industry technology conference, a woman asked, “How do you take and upload so many pictures”? We said they aren’t photographs in the conventional sense and explained our process and its benefits.

The calculation: how many high-fidelity 3D images of customizable apparel and footwear can our software dynamically create, on demand? To find the answer we chose an athletic shoe.

If each of 14 available colors were used to customize each of the shoe’s 9 customizable parts, the answer is--cue Carl Sagan’s voice--in the billions and billions. To be precise, 20,661,046,784.

The calculation comes courtesy of Steve Bleiler, head of Portland State University’s mathematics and statistics department. Perhaps we’ll ask Dr. Bleiler to expand his calculation to include some of the shoe’s other available customization options: any English text up to nine characters long from among five fonts, any of those 14 colors for the text and text outline, and the 39 additional viewing angles available when each image is incrementally rotated.

Obviously brands and retailers don’t need this hard-to-fathom array of available images. Only an infinitesimal fraction of the possible combinations enables online shoppers to experience products much more immersively than do conventional e-commerce presentation methods, such as digital still images and video. And the benefits are proven.

The point of the calculation? To demonstrate a leap forward and the power of our software.

Choose the red shoe in our demo to get an idea. Be forewarned, however: it takes lifetimes of continual clicking to generate each available image.