Development of a positioning aid to reduce postural variability and errors in 3D whole body scan measurements

Three-dimensional (3D) body scanners have the potential to evaluate changes to the human form through different clothing configurations, the use of protective equipment, or the effects of medical interventions. To achieve this, scans of an individual need to be superimposed for each experimental condition. The literature highlights that one of the limiting factors is postural variability. This paper describes a newly developed ‘positioning aid’ that stabilises the posture during the scanning process and is invisible on scans. The results of a study evaluating the efficacy of the positioning aid showed that it reduces postural variability for all body parts in lateral and longitudinal directions. A reference test with a rigid mannequin indicated that the ‘technical’ variability due to the scanner hardware and software significantly contributes to the residual variability. Furthermore, the study showed that the newly developed positioning aid overall increased the precision of the software-assisted extraction of body dimensions.