How it works 3D Data

When designing products it seems logical to include three dimensional body measurements. This page gives an overview of several tools that can be used in the design of three-dimensional products.

The shape of a well-designed helmet is not defined by only one measurement such as head circumference. Preferably designers would like to have an impression of the total surface modelling of the skull of a representative sample of the targeted population.

Currently progress is made on collection of this type of anthropometric data with 3D body scanners. An example is the Size Spain 2008 (note: broken link) project in which the Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia did a study that included three complete body scans and additional measurements for 10.414 people in age range 12-70.

Application of this type of data also requires new techniques and tools. Besides providing raw data in the form of digital 3D models, like was done in for instance the CAESAR project, anthropologists are looking for other ways to present and use this extensive type of information. An example of this is the Size China projects in which the results are presented in a series of physical models that together represent the head shape of the Chinese population. The headforms of the sizechina project are available trough in digital format as well sl-made in aluminium.


  • Availability of 3D anthropometric data is still limited


3D Human model

3D Human model render
3D Human model render.

3D Human Model is a new anthropometric validation tool for use in CAD design, developed by Konings & Kappelhoff design agency. It has been developed using the data from DINED and is specifically designed for use with SolidWorks. Commercial models are available on the website and for TU Delft students a simplified set of models is available through the student portal (Blackboard → MyStudentInfo → Student Resources → TUDelft Software).


ADAPS screenshot
Adaps screenshot.

ADAPS - acronym for Anthropometric Design Assessment Program System - started in 1979 as a graduation project of Frits Post in the Product Ergonomics Group of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology (DUT). Using punch-cards as data-input it ran on a mini-computer (the PDP11-series) at the Computing Centre of DUT. It has developed into an ongoing research project in the wider field of Computer Aided Anthropometric Assessment. ADAPS allows the user, designer, ergonomist or human factors specialist, the possibility to visualize on a computer screen a manikin model, integrated within a relevant workspace design. Flexibility in adapting the design to functional postures of a chosen percentile or length category of a target population is one of the central features. Ease of manipulating the manikin model, e.g. by supplying reach-algorithms for the model's hands and feet, directing its line-of-sight and displaying the resulting field-of-view (see illustration below) are standard facilities of ADAPS.

In 1992 conversion of the ADAPS-software onto PC-DOS was realized. New ideas were implemented: "active viewing" (looking around by mouse-indication while inside the field-of-view mode) and "seeing what you are doing" (reaching with hands and feet available while inside the fov-mode). The value of ADAPS for educational purposes and as a design assessment tool is demonstrated by the sale of the program, nationally as well as internationally. ADAPS runs now as a free downloadable independent application.and can cooperate with CAD software like Solid Works.

Ongoing research is focussed on the interpretation of the field-of-view in relation to "spatial situation awareness", the development of a range of manikin models of small children and on the rapid prototyping in foam of the manikin models in functional postures. Long term possibilities are automatic manikin model generation from 3D anthropometric surface scans.