Army Using Full Body Scans for Better Equipment Sizing


U.S. Army scientists are working with a new database of the human body to ensure uniforms and equipment fit female and male soldiers better.

The Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, completed the latest comprehensive anthropometric survey of soldiers, called ANSUR II, in 2012.

The ANSUR II 3-D Shape Database uses three-dimensional shapes and contour data to improve the fit of clothing and equipment for warfighters. It incorporates the latest Army anthropometric survey data and 3-D whole body scans, providing a searchable platform for the data and the 3-D shapes.

The previous survey was completed in 1988.

The 2012 survey set out to address changes in Army personnel body size and shape, and the resulting data showed that soldiers have increased in overall body girth since 1988. The new study also set out to document the sizing needs of the increasing number of women serving in the military.

The 2012 data collection included 3-D scans of the head, foot and entire body to provide data that could not be obtained through traditional body measurement techniques, Army officials maintain.

“We developed our own shape descriptor and query method for 3-D body scans,” Peng Li, a computer scientist on NSRDEC’s anthropology team said. “It will help determine different shapes for body armor and protection and gear for heads and faces.”

Most of the data over the years have been traditional measurements taken with calipers and tape measures.

The study included 7,435 men and 3,922 women. The goal was to acquire data from males and females to help Army engineers, scientists and designers develop equipment, clothing, shelters, kitchens, airplane cockpits, and vehicle crew stations that best serve the dimensions of the soldier.

Women’s body dimensions are very different from their male counterparts, and they need equipment, such as body armor, designed for them specifically. Smaller versions of items developed for males do not fit female soldiers properly. Team members devised eight new sizes based on the female anatomy data.

“Comfort, performance, safety and fit – that’s what it’s all about,” said Steve Paquette, a research anthropologist and team leader for NSRDEC’s anthropology team. “If it doesn’t fit right, you don’t even want to wear it.”

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Matthew Cox
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  • Megan

    Finally body armor with room for big boobs?!?

    • Leon Suchorski

      Well, some women DO HAVE rather large breasts.

      • Megan

        My favorite part is how my excitement over not having my boobs smashed by body armor got two thumbs down.

    • Kevin

      Unfortunately, looking at many in the military, there are plenty of guys who need room for big boobs as well.

      • Megan

        Ain’t that the truth though

  • wtpworrier

    I like this new tech, because all my Military uniforms was too big for me in Basic Training, but I have to admit, I did grow into them, I gained twenty pounds of solid mass. The next thing you know, the troops will have full body armor.

    • Chris

      This was my experience too. The only thing that fit me correctly was my PC and boots. My uniforms and armor were too big yet somehow I got an ACH that was too small.

  • Pops

    Can we please have a survey of all those currently taking surveys?

    Secondly, let’s remove those having trouble recognizing male and female differences.

    Thirdly, lets design clothing that adjusts easier so all benefit?

    I’ll bet “surveys” eat up a lot of $$$, can I get in on this?

  • Pearl

    Our daughter is 5′ 2″ and trust me, it isn’t easy getting fitted for riot gear. It is too big for her. I’m so glad to see the Army taking interest in all shapes and sizes. It’s about time. Also, make female thermal wear too.