|(Copyright Calgary Herald 2004)|
Canadian troops are stripping off their uniforms in a precedent-
setting experiment that could ultimately provide the most detailed
digital snapshot ever taken for such a large segment of Canada's
Technology that gathers ultra-precise measurements
for military uniforms is being rolled out at bases across Canada.
Troops, clad only in their underwear, step inside an eight-foot-high
booth, click on a joystick and wait several seconds while two cameras
snap their digital image and software converts it into 3-D.
Databases containing body measurements for uniforms will be networked
together, the statistics aggregated and compared. The result will be a
historic analysis of the Canadian Forces' average physique.
"Body Scanning System for 21st Century," or BoSS-21 units -- developed
by the Defence Department and a University of Toronto imaging
researcher -- are in use at bases in Trenton, Ont., Esquimalt, B.C.,
Edmonton, and St. Jean, Que., where they capture 37 standard
measurements in 40 seconds.
This fall, the Defence Department
announced expansion of the program, which will see eight more systems
in place at bases by 2008.
Portability will transform more than
just the complicated business of provisioning 200 different uniform
styles for 60,000 members of the Canadian navy, army and air force.
"You'll be able to answer questions like, 'is the navy a certain
(average) size?' and contrast that with the army (from) statistics
about the size and shape of (military personnel)," said the device's
co-creator Shi Yin.
Measurements will be 100 per cent accurate, and instantly retrievable from anywhere in the country.
The strongest interest in such technology outside the military comes
from government health officials, who see scanning as a cheaper way to
take a physical census of citizens.
|Colour Photo: Courtesy, DND / A military staff member demonstrates the BoSS-21 scanner.|