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Breakthrough in 3D scanning means results are 4500% more accurate

Scientists have created a new method for increasing the precision of 3D body scans by 4500%.

Researchers from Loughborough University and the University of Manchester have written a free algorithm that can be used with any scanning machine.

The new code, called Gryphon, is a simple data processing tool that identifies errors in the scan measurements and removes them.

A new paper published in the journal Ergonomics shows how the team took 121 measurements from 97 participants using the Gryphon code and compared them to the current industry-standard data processing method.

They found that the average margin of error for current 3D scanning machines is around 13.8cm when data is captured non-consecutively.

However, once the Gryphon code had been used alongside capturing data consecutively, the figure fell to 0.3cm… a 4500% improvement in precision.

Lead author Dr Chris Parker, of Loughborough School of Design and Creative Art, said: “When 3D body scanners measure people, the measurements can be so different from what you would take with a tape measure that the results cannot be easily used”.

“In fact, 0% of current measurements meet the precision you might expect from an expert, and are too imprecise to design clothes. We change that.

“At the minute, practitioners who use 3D scanners need a lot of training to spot errors, remove them from the data set, and rescan the person – so mistakes are common. Because of this, 3D body scanning is slow and, in many ways, unreliable.

“If the 3D body scanning industry adopts Gryphon into their software, then they will make their measurements 4500% more precise than they currently are – and it can all be done through a simple software update.

“We hope this will speed up 3D body scanning, removing the need for highly trained operators to correct mistakes, and - ultimately - help 3D Body Scanning create custom garments for everyone - without the fuss.”

Scanners are used in various industries such as performance sportswear design, fashion design and 3D morphometric evaluation.

They are also used for ergonomic and anthropometric investigation of the human form.

ENDS

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 21/114

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2021.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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