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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012 Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: April 12, 2007
No: 07-10

Anthropology Group showcases lab improvements

Peng Li, a computer programmer from SAIC working for the Ergonomics Team, shows what a 3D scan looks like. (Photo by Public Affairs Office.)
Click for Larger Photo

NATICK, Mass. -- On March 14, the Anthropology Group within the Ergonomics Team from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center held an open house to showcase renovations made to the 3D lab and to discuss how capabilities of 3D human body scanning can assist with development of clothing and equipment systems for the Warfighter.

The lab came into use approximately 10 years ago, said Steven Paquette, anthropology coordinator and acting team leader, Ergonomics Team. The idea was to use 3D scan measurements to help size and evaluate body armor and other individual equipment. Now, that vision keeps growing.

Some new areas discussed during the open house included the Integrated Database for Engineering Anthropometry of Soldiers (IDEAS), which was initially developed as part of the Uniform System for Improved Tariffs (USFIT) program.

The USFIT program is working to provide 3D whole-body anthropometric scanners at installations with large troop concentrations to aid in sizing and issuing clothing and equipment. These 3D scans and associated anthropometric data will be archived in IDEAS along with existing 3D data from previous studies. The information from IDEAS will provide Soldier body size information to the materiel developers for current and next generation clothing and equipment system requirements, including the determination of sizing requirements for Future Combat Systems.

 Another program being worked on in conjunction with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine is a study to see if extracting 3D scan data can assist the Army with measuring body fat.

"Body fat impacts not only items, such as clothing sizes, but also health," said Todd Garlie, research anthropologist. "The Army currently uses circumferences to measure body fat and people can get misidentified [as over- or under-weight]."

The current method can be very time consuming and the use of scan data could significantly reduce the time spent measuring Soldiers. The Anthropology Group is working in conjunction with the University of South Australia on this program. In addition, they are working with the United States Military Academy in order to be able to increase their collection data.

Brian Corner, research anthropologist, described some of the improvements to the 3D anthropology lab. All the scanners had full maintenance done on them, he said, and received upgrades of new electronics and hardware where needed.

"Within the next month, we also will be getting a brand new head scanner with much greater coverage and resolution than our current 12-year-old scanner," Corner continued, "which we are very excited about."

Other improvements include a new changing room so that personnel who are about to be scanned don't need to walk down the hall to the restrooms, and a large display monitor.

A hit with the personnel from the installation who visited the open house was getting their own 3D body scans done and being able to see them on the display monitor.

Some were even able to get their scans emailed to them.

This page last updated on 10 May 2006.