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Lasers: When a Tape Measurer Just Isn't Enough

Photonics.com
Mar 2002
ITHACA, N.Y., March 15 -- Apparel researchers at Cornell University are using a 3D body scanner to measure more than 300,000 "body data points" on women volunteers in Ithaca and Manhattan.

Women between the ages of 35 to 54 who wear size 4-to-24 pants are being paid $20 to don a one-piece Lycra scanning suit and then a pair of dress trousers for the 3D imaging process, in which an eye-safe laser light scans the body as eight cameras capture images from every side of the body in 12 seconds.

The object of the research is to develop a method that clothing businesses can use to adjust their sizing systems to targeted markets. The data also can be used to determine measurements of populations, develop virtual "try-on systems," create custom-fitted garments and generally to improve the fit and variety of clothing, says Susan Ashdown, associate professor of textiles and apparel at Cornell. Ashdown is collaborating on the project with Cornell colleague Suzanne Loker, professor of textiles and apparel.

The research is supported by the National Textile Center, a federally funded consortium of universities conducting research to promote the US textile and apparel industry. Cornell recently joined the consortium. An alumna donated the body scanner to Cornell.



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