3D measurements to improve the fit of cycling helmets

Date: 1 June 2015

Introduction: A cycling helmet that doesn't fit your head properly or an item of clothing marked 'one size fits all' that doesn't actually fit: we've all been there. Modern 3D measuring techniques can make a big difference here.

Anthropometry, the measurement of the human individual, is age old. It may sound obvious, but it isn't: human anatomy varies enormously. The importance of this variation shouldn't be underestimated, since good measurements are essential for designing ergonomic products like furniture, clothes and prostheses.

“The traditional measuring tape falls far too short”, explains Stijn Verwulgen of Product Development at UAntwerp. “That's something that everyone will have experienced first-hand. For example, while the cycling helmets on sale today do fit more or less, there is clearly room for improvement.”

3D measurements are the key to this improvement. “Modern scanning techniques allow us to map the human head much more efficiently”, says Toon Huysmans (iMinds Vision Lab, UAntwerp). “Thanks to this research we can predict the shape of someone's head using just a few basic measurements, which can be taken in a shop. This means that the cycling helmets of tomorrow will fit much more closely to the shape of your own head.”

New data
The Antwerp scientists' partners include 3D pioneer Materialise and helmet producer Lazer Sport. Verwulgen: “The industry is very interested in our research, as the use of 3D techniques makes huge quantities of new data available. That data will lead to significant improvements in a whole range of products in the future.”

As part of the CADANS research project, UAntwerp is organising a seminar for scientists and businesses of all sizes on Tuesday 2 June. Using examples from everyday practice, the seminar will paint a picture of the current state of the art in modern anthropometric research.