Mar 21, 2016 | By Benedict

Body Labs, provider of 3D human models for clothing, technology, gaming, and other applications, has today secured the exclusive rights to two 3D scanning patents issued to Brown University, as well as licenses to new technologies from Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH.

Have you ever tried on a pair of jeans, ostensibly in “your size”, but found the proportions to be completely and utterly wrong for your legs? For many, this changing room mishap happens on a regular basis and proves a constant source of frustration. More often than not, the problem originates from clothing manufacturers basing their measurements on a single human model considered to be of “average” shape and size, a procedure which obviously risks alienating customers with certain body shapes. In 2013, one ambitious startup decided to address this problem—as well as several related ones—by devising a new, digital framework with which clothing manufacturers and other businesses could better understand human body shape and movement. The clever idea garnered much attention and, by November 2015, the company had secured $8 million in Series A funding, with which it was able to significantly expand its operations.

That company, Manhattan-based Body Labs, specializes in providing accurate 3D models and animations of the human body, constructed from numerous 3D scans of real human models. Its technology is now used in a range of fields, from fashion to virtual reality, with companies using the virtual 3D bodies to create perfectly fitting clothing, realistic physical movements in computer games, and much more. In order to create its realistic 3D body models, Body Labs collects huge amounts of data from 3D scans of human models of all shapes and sizes, before aggregating that data to produce realistic virtual bodies—not for a single, “normal”, body shape, but for a wide selection of physiques and postures.

The statistical approach used by Body Labs incorporates machine learning algorithms and a comprehensive training set of human shapes and poses for converting shape parameters into statistically accurate 3D body models. Today’s announcement sees the company taking an important step in its long-term 3D scanning and modeling evolution. With the acquisition of two patents issued to Brown University, in addition to licenses to several new technologies developed at Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, Body Labs’ 3D and 4D scanning capabilities will be significantly enhanced, enabling the platform to produce more realistic body models and animations than ever before.

"These exclusive patents and licenses enable us to unlock unprecedented personalization across the entire human body and ensure our technology is more accessible than ever to a growing list of industries," said William O'Farrell, co-founder and CEO of Body Labs. "It's been a privilege to be partnered with Brown University and the Max Planck Institute for the past three years. These patents and licenses enable us to further expand our relationship and drive rapid innovation in the 3D body modeling space.”

Both of the patents acquired by Body Labs concern, amongst other things, the ability to capture and depict 3D scans of human bodies whilst they are wearing clothes. The technology described in U.S. patent 9,189,886 B2, originally filed on August 14, 2009, would use a low-dimensional 3D model of the human body to accurately capture details of the human body shape, even when it is wearing clothes or obscured by other physical objects. Sensor measurements would be fitted to the body model, with fewer and less accurate measurements required due to the low-dimensionality of the model.

Patent 20130249908 A1, filed on June 8, 2011, proposes a “contour person” (CP) model of the human body which combines accuracy and simplicity. Learned from a 3D model of the human body, the CP model would capture natural shape and pose variations, whilst offering the “computational benefits of a a simple 20 part-based model”. The proposed technology would be particularly beneficial for clothing design and manufacture, as the CP model could be “dressed” with a low-dimensional clothing model, represented as a deformation from the underlying CP model.

Illustrations from U.S. patent 20130249908 A1

In addition to the acquisition of the two patents issued to Brown University, Body Labs has announced exclusive licenses to new technologies developed at Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH. These technologies will help Body Labs to improve its 3D representations of hands, feet, faces and heads, and will help to facilitate the integration of Body Labs technology into other industry workflows such as animation pipelines, gaming, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), health, fitness and more. The Max-Planck-Innovation tech will also help Body Labs improve its representations of soft-tissue deformation captured from 4D scanners.

The new patent and technology licenses acquired by Body Labs will enable the company to significantly improve its product as a tool for clothing designers and manufacturers. However, the 3D scanning innovator also regards developers of virtual reality technology as potential key beneficiaries of its ever-improving 3D scanning and modeling services. With Gartner predicting 25 million virtual reality headsets to end up in the hands of consumers by 2018, Body Labs seems to be focusing its attention in the right area. Being more-or-less unrivaled in its 3D body model services, the company is now well-placed to become a leading provider of virtual body data for VR software developers.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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