Donal Reddington on mass customization, crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing

Body scanners gaining ground in retailing

An article in Self Service World looks at recent progress in the development of body scanning systems that determine a customers exact measurements.

The article, written by Tracy Powell, focuses on the systems provided by Intellifit, and the Bodyskanner by Unique Patterns of Nova Scotia, which is focused more on generating patterns than matching customers to existing products:

Another kiosk-sized scanner comes from Nova Scotia-based Unique Patterns, the world’s largest custom-pattern company that recently opened its first Fit Place in Hudson, Ohio. Located inside a Jo-Ann Store, Fit Place is the first permanent installation of a Unique Patterns bodyskanner, which captures a person’s measurements and uses them to custom draft sewing patterns for the user.

The article describes how:

“Intellifit, with a 7-by-8-foot chamber, uses radio waves to scan the body. The radio waves bounce off water just under the person’s skin, much like Dopplar radar that detects atmospheric moisture, according to Intellfit co-founder and CTO Albert Charpentier. A “wand” rotates around the individual, gathering 200,000 points of data of the body shape. This information is then processed against Intellifit’s database, which compares a customer’s measurements to a range of specifications given by retailers to determine the best-fitting sizes and apparel brands for the individual.”

Interestingly, the customer can get a printout of results immediately afterwards, or they can provide an username and email address to the operator, which will enable them to log into the Intellifit website for the results later.

The article also notes the research carried led by Dr. Cynthia Istook, a North Carolina State University textiles professor, which used a TC2 (TC squared) bodyscanner to carry out large scale research into the sizes of Americans.

The article suggests that body scanning systems are beginning to get a foothold in retail environments, and that wider adoption of these systems is dependent on how long it will take for retail owners to become acquainted with the technology and its application.

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