The human body has complex spatial relationships with consumer products. Products that fit the human body must fit well to deliver performance, comfort, and overall user safety. Yet, body shape and measurements vary significantly by gender, ethnicity and age. Traditional methods of acquiring measurements are time consuming, subject to human error and poorly integrated with current best practices in product design. Similarly, traditional prototyping methods using clay, wood and foam are time and labor intensive making them out of synch with the fast pace iterative process needed when designing body fit products.
In 2005, the Asian Ergonomics Design Lab (AEL) in the School of Design, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University began working with digital technologies to try and solve some of the many problems of fit, sizing and shape that have bedeviled design practice since the beginning. The Scan&Print method uses the technologies of 3D body scanning, CAD software and 3D printing to create body fitting products with improved fit within a reduced time. This method is taught as a part of the curriculum at School of Design in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where there is an emphasis on leveraging technology with design innovation.
The Scan&Print method can reduce development time, improve fit and create new types of shapes for body fitting products. The near future may see further applications where the whole process of scanning, designing and manufacturing customized products for human body becomes tightly integrated, intuitive and automated.
Biography of Prof. Roger Ball
Prof. Roger Ball has been crafting iconic sports products since 1983 for Burton Snowboards, Fisher Price, Cooper Canada, Itech Sports, Brine Lacrosse, Bell Helmets and Nike. During his 25-year teaching career, he has led design studios in North America, Asia and Europe.
Prof. Ball is the Eric C. Yim Endowed Professor in Asian Ergonomics at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where he is the Scheme Leader for the MDes programmes. He holds an MFA from the Domus Academy in Milan and a PhD in Ergonomics from TU Deflt University in the Netherlands.
His award winning 3D anthropometric study, SizeChina, has created the first digital database of Chinese head and face shapes (wwwsizechina.com). As leader of the Asian Ergonomics Design Lab, Prof. Roger Ball and his team drive the development of ‘China-fit” products for local and global brands. His research clients include Luxottica, Microsoft, 3M, Cartier, Neurosky and cirque du soleil.