Cadscan’s 3D body scanning makes military clothing and equipment fit

Body scan

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) provides clothing and equipment for approximately 230,000 service personnel serving across the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force from an inventory comprising around 25,000 items. Service personnel come in all shapes and sizes, a mix of ethnic groups and genders, all of whom can change shape during their service life.


For clothing and protective equipment such as body armour to be functional and effective it must fit and be positioned correctly, something that is difficult to achieve with a set of standard sizes. Ill-fitting clothing can be uncomfortable, while protective equipment can be heavy, bulky, limit mobility and make the wearer excessively hot.


Cadscan was commissioned by the MoD to develop an Adaptive Clothing and Equipment System (ACES) which uses 3D scanning to capture detailed measurements of the body so that correctly sized kit can be issued. Built around a low-cost hand-held 3D body scanner the system was designed to allow a quartermaster to easily scan a full person in around 2-3 minutes.


At the heart of the system are a set of algorithms that automatically extract and measure key features on each body scan so that each item can be correctly sized and selected. The first step in this process is to orientate the scan data, readjusting the X, Y and Z positions to account for any skew. The data is then sliced to extract the perimeter across the body where required. Perimeters can then be measured as needed for each garment, for example at the waist, seat or thigh, along with distances between each plane. Other features can also be identified such as junctions in the body, for example the shoulder or hip, and used to measure dimensions such as arm or leg length.

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