PolyU “head-hunters” to study head sizes of ethnic Chinese

With nearly $4.5 million funding support from DesignSmart Initiative of the Government's Innovation and Technology Commission, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)'s School of Design (SD) is collecting 3D head and face measurements of ethnic Chinese to establish a database for industrial designers.

Heading this "SizeChina.com" project is Mr Roger Ball, Assistant Professor of SD. His team will make use of a 360 degree rotary non-contact head and face scanner to collect anthropometric data in six different provinces and regions of the Chinese mainland, in collaboration with local universities and enterprises.

According to Mr Ball, the objective of this project is to create the first digital database on the head and face shapes of ethnic Chinese. He said many existing consumer products are designed for Caucasians, and as a result do not fit Chinese people properly. This research will solve the problem by creating practical, sophisticated design tools for industries that need to create the next generation of perfect fitting consumer products.

"Uunderstanding human size and shape is the cornerstone for designing successful products. Every consumer product relies on accurate fitting. Designers, engineers and architects need sophisticated digital data on head and face shapes to design the next generation of best-selling products. How well a product fits us is the most important part of any successful design," he added.

It is anticipated that designers from many industries will require this anthropometric data. Some areas of application for this database are highlighted as follows:

For Medical industry :
Facemasks and filters for contagious children. Protective equipments for health care professionals. Advanced head mounted micro-surgery tools

For Optical industry :
According to a previous study by PolyU's School of Optometry, over 70 per cent of ethnic Chinese school children are wearing spectacles. Non prescription eyewear such as sunglasses is therefore of particular interest.

For Sports industry :
Bicycle helmets, helmets for scooter and motorcycles, protective goggles.

For Entertainment/Communication industry :
Headphones/virtual reality headsets/head mounted interfaces

This project is partly funded by the DesignSmart Initiative under the project title "Perfect fit China". It is also funded and supported by leading local industrial partners, including UGS PLM Solutions and Strategic Sports.

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