Body scanner takes quick, accurate fashion measurements

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Casey Stannard, assistant professor in the LSU College of Agriculture’s Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising Department, stands in the department’s new body scanner waiting for her measurements to be taken. Under normal circumstances the person in the scanner would be wearing a spandex body suit. Photo by Tobie Blanchard
Laurel Romeo, assistant professor in the LSU College of Agriculture’s Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising Department, works the computer that runs the Size Stream body scanner. Casey Stannard, another assistant professor in the department, looks on at her 3-D image and measurements. Photo by Tobie Blanchard

News Release Distributed 08/22/14

BATON ROUGE, La. – Casey Stannard stepped behind a curtain into a device that at first glance looks like a mix between an airport body scanner and a voting booth.

Stannard, an assistant professor in the LSU College of Agriculture’s Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising Department, volunteered to have her measurements taken in the new state-of-the-art 3-D and 4-D Size Stream body scanner.

Others in the department watched the demonstration, which lasted only a few seconds. After a few seconds more, a 3-D image of Stannard popped up on the computer attached to the scanner.

The infrared depth sensors had recorded 400 measurements on her. The scanner never made a sound.

Laurel Romeo, also an assistant professor, ran the machine for the demonstration, and said it is accurate within plus or minus 3 millimeters and gives 1.5 million data points that create a true-to-scale digital model of the person scanned.

“This is the latest cutting-edge technology that many universities do not have,” Romeo said. “It will be an important research tool for our department.”

Romeo said the body scanner can help create a custom-fit dress or shirt, but it can also be used in many other ways. One is to conduct anthropometric studies, which help to understand human measurements.

“There has been no comprehensive study of the size and shape of Americans since the 1940s,” she said, adding the study was done on males and females serving in the military and did not reflect the general public.

The body scanner can also help to develop new apparel sizing standards that reflect the size and shape of the current population. The 4-D aspect of the scanner can look at how people move in their clothes. This would allow for the development and testing of protective uniforms and other apparel.

It could help when designing uniforms for firefighters, law enforcement officers or even dancers to make sure clothes fit properly and move the way they need to,” she said.

Romeo said this body scanner can even help the film industry in Louisiana. Actors can be scanned to help create computer animated graphics for movies.

Body scanners will reduce the need to use human beings in the fashion industry as models to test the fit of garments. Also, there will be less fabric wasted with more precise measurements.

“With the scanner and computer-aided design software, known as CAD, we can also create engineered prints that allow for adjusting how the print falls on a person,” Romeo said, adding this could help achieve a more flattering appearance.

The scanner will also be beneficial to students in the department. Romeo said to get jobs, students will need to know how to use 3-D scanning and computer-generated models.

“This is where a lot of research is going,” said Stannard, a first-year faculty member. “There is so much potential with this technology.”

Romeo said there are opportunities to collaborate with other departments on campus such as kinesiology, ergonomic studies and computer science. She also has plans to work with Our Lady of the Lake and is working with Pennington Biomedical Research Center, which has an older version of the body scanner.

Tobie Blanchard

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