Body Plotting

An innovative body measurement system developed by American research company [TC]2 may soon put an end to the unwanted attentions of tape-measure wielding shop assistants.

Propelled by growing e-commerce trends and the interested buzz of big-business, the 3D Body Measurement System (BMS) is undergoing a transformation from expensive novelty to a tool which has the potential to revolutionise the clothing industry.

12 feet wide and 20 feet long, BMS uses six cameras mounted on towers that are arranged in a triangle to capture flashes of white light and map hundreds of thousands of data points on the human body.

Specially `tailored’ software then extracts a series of measurements that can either be compared to clothes specifications to recommend what size you buy, or to give the tailor something to work with – all in under a minute.

The white light phase measurement profilometry (PMP) approach is, claims the company, particularly well suited for body measurement because of the short acquisition time, accuracy and relatively low cost.

The system design uses six stationary surface sensors to encompass the body. Each sensor consists of a projector and an area sensing camera, thus forming a vertical triangulation with the object or body. The camera and projector are separated by a baseline to form the necessary geometry for mapping points onto the surface of the body.

So far, the scanner’s hefty price price tag (around $100,000) has put it out of reach of most people, although customers do include the US Navy, NC State University College of Textiles and Levi’s flagship San Francisco store where the scanner is the centrepiece of a zone of the shop given over to customised clothes – an area of the clothing industry where the innovation is expected to have a particularly great impact.

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