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3-D Imager Has a Hand in Making Golf Gloves Fit

Photonics Spectra
Jun 1998
Ruth A. Mendonsa

Golfers may soon be able to send their hand measurements electronically to a glove manufacturing facility and receive custom-made gloves in just a few weeks. Photonics once again is the backbone of this capability.

4DI technology has also been used in the automotive and aerospace industries for guiding robots and for in-line inspection of manufactured parts.

Intelligent Automation Systems and FootJoy Worldwide have collaborated to develop a scanner based on Intelligent Automation's 4DI Three-Dimensional Imager to accurately measure golfers' hands. In a matter of seconds, the system maps out the complex geometries of the human hand. It employs a sensor head that consists of a laser projector and multiple imagers.

The system captures the hand profile in a 30-ms time frame. It is portable, runs from a PC and requires very little operator training. A solid-state eye-safe laser fans 100 stripes of light over the hand, and the reflection of the light pattern from the surface is then imaged by the three cameras and reconstructed as a series of 50,000 points from which the 3-D image is generated.

Traditional methods of hand measurement are slow, tedious and far less than perfect. Fitters use a tape measure wrapped around the largest part of the player's hand to gauge the size of the palm, and the fingers -- a crucial area of fit -- are not even part of the measuring process. FootJoy recognized the need for a better method.

The FootJoy Laser Fitting System was unveiled earlier this year at the Professional Golfers Association Show in Orlando, Fla. For now, FootJoy is using the scanner to expand its database of hand measurements to a population sampling of 10,000 or more. The company wants to address the variabilities in human finger and palm sizes by adjusting its production glove standards. At this time there is no sizing standard that reflects a large sample of the golfing population.

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