Volumental and Their 3D Scanning Technology is Bringing Custom Fit Shoes to the US
You may not have yet heard of Volumental, but you will soon be hearing a lot about their technology. The Stockholm-based startup is using 3D scanning and Intel’s RealSense technology to help create clothing and accessories that are made to fit your body exactly. So far the technology is being used to 3D scan a person’s feet to help retailers find the perfect pair of footwear for their customers, but the company sees a future where their technology can be used to find all of our clothing, and even have it custom made for us. Their technology is already available throughout Europe and Asia, and it will soon be available in the United States.
Do you know what your exact shoe size is? Chances are that you don’t, you simply know a number that you usually give to a salesperson and hope that what they bring back fits. In reality, a person’s feet are not typically the exact same size and often can differ as much as a full shoe size. Not to mention the fact that shoe manufacturers, just like clothing manufacturers, have wildly inconsistent ideas of what a shoe size is supposed to be. Often the result is shoes that don’t fit correctly, which can be uncomfortable or simply bad for the wearer’s posture. One of the goals at Volumental is to get people to forget their shoe size and instead use their technology to make sure that they get the perfect fit every time.
Their VANDRA hardware platform includes what looks similar to a scale, but is actually four depth cameras that take a three-dimensional, volumetric scan of each individual foot in two seconds when a customer steps on it. The scan is then sent into their software platform that will capture multiple data points, including the arch length and the ball width, two measurements that shoe retailers would find difficult to accurately record using traditional measurement tools. Once the scans are taken they are immediately sent to a connected tablet that is being used by the salesperson, who will then match their customer up with a pair of shoes that is best suited to their feet. The recommendations can include what is currently in store inventory and also be set up to include inventory at other stores.
The first of the Volumental foot scanners have already be installed in several locations in Japan, where they have been used to help develop an app that allows customers to find shoe recommendations based on their shoe size. Swedish shoe brand Falchenberg and German company Scarosso are using the technology to create fully customizable footwear that is made for their customers’ exact foot sizes. And just this week Volumental signed a deal to partner with Nordstrom to offer more accurate in-store shoe sizing. The technology will also be used by companies like Boulanger, Brooks Brothers, Coop and Levi Strauss & Co. for a wide variety of footwear and clothing products.
While the company begins to roll its footwear technology platform out into the US, Volumental is already working on their second business application by teaming up with opticians and eyewear brands. Their new facial 3D scanner will take detailed digital images of a customer’s face which will allow a technician to match them up with a pair of eyeglasses that will fit their head the best. Of course the technology can also be used to create customized eyeglasses made to fit a person perfectly. So far Volumental is working with German eyewear manufacturer Mykita, which sells their glasses and sunglasses in more than eight countries.
“The first generation of the VACKER solution will let you scan customers faces at an optician,” Volumental notes on their site regarding their VACKER hardware for facial scanning. “In roughly 1 minute you get a submillimeter accurate 3D scan of your customer displayed on a tablet. It then suggests a perfectly fitting pair of frames by adapting a parametric model to the topography of your customer’s face. It then allows you to further adjust the frame along up to 12 different parameters whilst visualizing the changes in realtime on the 3D scan of your customer…. In combination with the hardware we provide our cloud-based storage solution VAULT that safely stores the relevant data points, so your customer can re-access them at a future point in time.”
Volumental was founded by Caroline Walerud, Alper Aydemir, Miroslav Kobetski and Rasmus Göransson back in 2012 and has quickly grown from the original four founders to a team of more than twenty. So far the company has raised more than $5 million in startup cash, including backing from several major venture capital firms and even from the Swedish government. Is this 3D scanning technology something you could benefit from? Tell us your thoughts in the Volumental 3D Scanning forum over at 3DPB.com.
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