Body scanning technology helps style-conscious shoppers

A 3D body scanning system will help shoppers find better-fitting clothes easily and quickly, as well as assess their overall fitness.

The technology behind the system was originally developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington. Now, it has been licensed to Unique Solutions, which is introducing scanning kiosks based on it near retail locations throughout the US.

In use, the system uses millimetre waves that penetrate clothing and reflect off the body, sending signals back to a transceiver. The transceiver then sends the signals to a computer, which then can reconstruct them to create a detailed series of body measurements.

The kiosks based on the technology will then present shoppers with the best fitting and most flattering styles from many different lines of apparel. Unique Solutions has already launched the service at the largest retail shopping mall in the US — the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania.

The PNNL-developed technology was previously licensed for use in security applications and is currently being deployed by the Transportation Security Administration in airports across the US, where it can identify hidden objects, including plastic, ceramic and other non-metallic weapons.