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Scanners may replace fitting room                       
                 (Las Vegas Review-Journal; 03/14/99)                 

   By Andrea Ahles

   Knight Ridder Newspapers

   Moving from the special effects studios of Hollywood to the local shopping 
mall, three-dimensional body scanners may someday replace those cold dressing 
rooms at department stores as designers look for ways to create better-fitting 

   While stores aren't tearing down the fitting rooms and rushing out to buy 
the $500,000 body scanners just yet, clothing manufacturers, along with 
automotive, aerospace and defense companies, are using the technology to study 
a wide variety of human body shapes.

   The Caesar project, supported by these companies but primarily funded by the 
Air Force and NATO, will scan about 11,000 people over the next two years. The 
data will be used to create a database of three-dimensional human measurements.

   About 4,000 Americans at 10 different sites will be scanned, as will about 
6,800 people from the Netherlands and Italy. NATO chose them because the 
Netherlands has the tallest population and Italy the shortest among NATO 

   Traditionally, measurements were two-dimensional, taken by a tape measure. 
But with the advent of computer-aided design software, clothing designers and 
carmakers have needed three-dimensional measurements that can be manipulated by 
these CAD programs.

   "In the past, when you would take these measurements, you had no way of 
going back and getting additional measurements," said Gary W. Pollack, the 
Caesar program manager for the Society of Automotive Engineers. "Now, we're 
capturing the measurements electronically, and, at any time, we can get data."

   The project uses a 13-foot-tall, 10-foot-wide body scanner manufactured by 
Cyberware to scan individuals in three positions - one standing and two seated. 
Individuals wear gray biker shorts, with the women also wearing gray sports 
bras, to improve the accuracy of the scan.

   Each scan takes about 17 seconds. There is no known risk to being scanned 
repeatedly; the low-power lasers meet Food and Drug Administration safety 

   About 80 reflective dots are placed strategically on the individual for the 
scan. Although the lasers pick up the shape of the entire body, the dots 
provide specific data points that can be used by companies. The whole process, 
including paperwork, changing clothes, being fitted with reflective dots, etc., 
takes about an hour per person, Pollack said.

   The project already has scanned 750 people in Los Angeles; Detroit; Ames, 
Iowa; and Dayton, Ohio. Officials consulted university demographers to get an 
accurate cross-section of Americans and their shapes to scan.

   Kathleen Robinette, Caesar project manager for the Air Force, said the 
researchers also worried that some people wouldn't want to be scanned. "We 
thought we might have difficulty with heavier people that may be sensitive 
about their weight," Robinette said. "But they want to participate so they can 
get clothes that fit them."

   Indeed, a survey last year by a retail consulting firm found that most 
consumers would gladly step in front of a scanner if it meant getting better-
fitting clothes. In the survey by Kurt Salmon Associates of Atlanta, 60 percent 
of respondents said they had difficulty finding clothes that fit well.

   Adelle Kirk, associate director of consumer marketing at KSA, said consumers 
were particularly interested in using body scanning to get better-fitting 
intimate apparel, jeans and business suits.

   The survey found that 66 percent said they were comfortable having their 
body scanned, and 59 percent said they would use a scanner. Also, 18 percent of 
the consumers surveyed said they would pay for body-scanning services.

   "There is such a `fit' crisis among American consumers," Kirk said. "There 
is clearly a need for better, more customized clothing."

   Levi Strauss & Co., a Caesar partner, has initiated a program, called 
Original Spin, that allows customers to design their own pair of jeans for $55.

   In October, the San Francisco company set up computer kiosks in some of its 
Original Levi's stores where a customer chooses the style, color, leg design 
and fly opening for a pair of jeans. A sales associate then takes physical 
measurements of the customer and lets the customer try on a pair of "test-
drive" jeans in that style.

   The order is then sent to the factory and, within 10 days, the customer has 
a pair of jeans made to order.

   Consumer comfort also is an important issue for car designers. Ford Motor 
Co. became interested in the Caesar project as a way to help it design more 
comfortable car interiors.

   Gary Rupp, principal research engineer at Ford, said the 3-D data would help 
the company determine reasonable ranges of space in the driver's seat.

   Aerospace companies such as Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. have relied 
on human measurement data to create standard airplane interiors. But most of 
the data are two-dimensional and not as representative of the population.

   Ray Duncan, Lockheed Martin's manager of crew systems, said the company has 
had to reconfigure some of its military aircraft because the military services 
have changed some of their entrance criteria over the last 40 years. For 
example, more women are being trained for combat roles.

   "We're having to accommodate smaller female pilots and larger male pilots, 
and they need to sit at a certain point and space to see out the window of the 
airplane," Duncan said.

   For the Air Force, the primary focus of using 3-D data is to create better-
fitting flight suits and oxygen masks, Robinette said.

   Caesar's $6 million budget is funded primarily from the Department of 
Defense and NATO because the United States shares a lot of equipment with other 
NATO countries, some of which have shorter or taller average body types than 
Americans. The whole project should be completed by 2001, and the data will be 
made available to the 40 companies that invested in the project before being 
sold to other corporations.

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