3D Body Scanning for Product Design
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The human body has complex spatial relationships with consumer products. Products that fit the human body must fit well to deliver performance, comfort, and overall user safety. Yet, body shape and measurements vary significantly by gender, ethnicity and age. Traditional methods of acquiring measurements are time consuming, subject to human error and poorly integrated with current best practices in product design. Similarly, traditional prototyping methods using clay, wood and foam are time and labor intensive making them out of synch with the fast paced iterative process used when designing body fit products. In 2005 The Asian Ergonomic Lab (AEL) in the School of Design in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University began working with digital technologies to try and solve some of the many problems of fit, sizing and shape that have bedeviled design practice since the beginning. The Scan&Print method uses the technologies of 3D body scanning, CAD software and 3D printing to create body fitting products with improved fit within a reduced time. This method is now taught as a part of the undergraduate curriculum ID 4061 – Designing for the Human Body in the Industrial Design Dept at Georgia Tech where there is an emphasis on leveraging technology with design innovation. The Scan&Print method reduces development time, improves fit and creates new types of forms for body fitting products. The near future may see further applications where the whole process of scanning, designing and manufacturing customized products for human body becomes tightly integrated, intuitive and automated.