Why We Started Skelmet – Background

This journal post serves as the background explaining why we started this project.

Individual Uniqueness

First, we know the fact that everybody is unique. Here the uniqueness refers to the 3D body shapes. Although this is quite obvious to naked eyes, there’s also a science behind it, called Anthropometry, which is dedicated to studying the measurements and proportions of the human body. Researchers have been using 3D scanners to take more accurate body measurements since the 2000s. They collect 3D models of human bodies and run statistical analysis. These quantified results help designers and manufacturers improve the comfort and functionality of their wearable gear products.

3D Scanning Using Smartphones

Smartphones with 3D scanning capability are becoming popular. Apple published iPhone X in 2017. It’s the first iPhone that has the FaceID function. FaceID uses the TrueDepth camera (a 3D scanner) to authenticate user ID. And later Apple opened the API to developers so that we could develop the 3D scan App with it. Now all the iPhones after the iPhone X, as well as iPad Pro, have 3D scan capability. 3D scanning is not limited to labs anymore, and everybody could use it on a daily basis.

Advanced Industrial 3D Printing

Industrial 3D printing technologies have become good enough for production. There are many types of 3D printing technologies. Previously, people use 3D printing as prototyping tools or maker tools. After years of development, more companies have published revolutionary production-focused 3D printing solutions. People begin to use 3D printers to make final products because it’s stronger, faster, and cheaper.

Between 3D Scanning and 3D Printing

We think why not use the 3D scanner to take the 3D measurement and use 3D printers to manufacture custom-fitted products? However, when we re-examine the existing systems for solving fitting problems, we think the current way of design, manufacturing, and sales out-of-date. Most designers don’t have any experience or resources to design based on the 3D model. They still rely on their feels and experiences. Only big brands could afford the cost of making serious anthropometry study and maintain a database. And the manufacturing process and sale are also not compatible with our idea. So we decide to found Skelmet to change this.

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