In the United States, 3D scanners are now providing new opportunities for technical manufacturers such as bicycle makers to raise the level of product personalisation and thereby attract new customers.
3D modelling using scanners is helping to shape the future of product personalisation. The apparel industry seems to have lost no time taking on board this way of making garments, for both protective wear and made-to-measure suits. Now the technology looks set to spread fast to more technical industries. The Ohio-based company Roll: is a good example. The company, which sells bicycles, has come up with the idea of creating 3D body images of its customers in order to ensure that the bike s/he has chosen is totally personalised to his/her body metrics.
A tailored bike, based on 3D scan data
In fact the system, which is called Roll: Perfect Fit, makes use of both lasers and cameras to create a 3D image. First of all, the customer slips inside a cylinder for scanning. A laser then generates a dense point cloud on the body surface. Next, a sensor calculates the position of each point on the surface and the distances between them, and on this basis can create a 3D map of the customer’s body in around 10 seconds. The data are sent directly to a modelling software programme, where they are combined with personal information on lifestyle and the type of use which the customer envisages making of his/her bike, in order to help build an even more closely tailored bike. Later on, the bike fit can be adjusted, if the bicycle owner undergoes any major changes in body weight, lifestyle or specific needs.
Tailoring is the future – not only for tailors
The idea of personalising bicycles using 3D scanners has just appeared on the market. However the apparel industry was almost certainly the first to become acutely aware of the potential afforded by 3D body scanning techniques. For example, the New York-based Acustom Apperal brand uses a customer’s precise body data to make him or her a pair of jeans. In fact 3D imaging provides faster and more precise measurement of the human body than even a professional bespoke tailor could. The concept could also become popularised through the crowdfunding efforts on KickStarter made by menswear firm Arden Reed’s Trailor Truck. The truck, equipped with 3D body scanners, travels through major US cities to make suits to measure for their customers.