Called the Size China project, it is proposed that the results will create a database for use by manufacturers and product designers around the world.
“The data will be used by manufacturers of optical products, helmets, head gear and medical devices; product designers; and scientific and academic research institutions,” said Roger Ball, director of Size China and assistant professor at the School of Design.
Data is being collected from six distinct target zones on the Chinese mainland, using a 3D scanning process in collaboration with local industries and universities with experience in ergonomics.
An international team of leading experts in the areas of design, anthropometrics, scanning technology, CAD data creation and rapid prototyping are also involved with the project.
The data will be used to create digital virtual models for applications in the medical, optical, entertainment and sports industries.
The raw scanning data is imported into advanced CAD software for the creation of average head size and shape models.
“We have already discovered the ratio of head length to head width is substantially different between European and Chinese populations,” said Ball.
“We are focusing on the head and face because these are the two areas of the body that show the biggest differences in size and shape, when comparisons are made between the Europeans and Chinese.
“Products that fit the head and face are more sensitive to poor fit. For example, if a motorcycle helmet is too tight, it cannot be adjusted and you can’t wear it at all.
“Many sunglasses are designed for European or Western consumers and don’t fit Chinese faces. Face-masks used to protect people from airborne pathogens and pollutants don’t fit Chinese faces properly for the same reason."
Eight different digital head forms and computer files will be created from the initial data analysis. There will also be a library of 2000 head and face scans available for purchase.