Backed by $2.2M in funding, Body Labs is a revolutionary new startup that morphs the physical human body into a digital platform. Using statistical modeling of the human body, Body Labs takes simple measurements to build personal 3D digital avatars that, in turn, companies can use for mass customization.
This startup was not founded in a garage in Silicon Valley, but was born out of a murder case. Students at Brown University were tasked with investigating a homicide through ‘computer vision’. After determining the killer’s height, they used measurements to guesstimate the shape of a human body and turned out to be spot on. The ah-ha moment of forming BodyLabs came when the realization of predictive modeling coupled with data could generate customized 3D avatars, leading to a multitude of use cases.
Mass Customization with a Digital Platform
The most obvious use for Body Lab’s platform is the extension into the world of apparel. Using the 3D technology, manufactures can create better fitting products with unparalleled precision. By rapid protoyping clothing, creative directors and technology directors work side by side to make changes to a product’s movement and form before fabric is ever cut, thereby reducing waste, time and costs. Aggregating big data for all body types allows for better fit and function for the general population. Conducting studies for retailers on what the bodies of target customers look like, based on demographic information, serves as a side stream of revenue for Body Labs.
According to Bill O’ Farrell, co-founder and chief executive officer, “The technology has been in development for over a decade….We have thousands of people in different shapes and poses [scanned]. Our view of the world is one that is becoming more personalized and automated. If you believe in an increase in mass customization, then the vital missing link has been the human body. We have had proxies for the human body, but now we can really use the human body itself as the platform around which goods and services can be bought, enhance and manufactured.”
One Mannequin Does Not Fit All
On a more personal scale, the Body Labs platform scans a user to create an avatar replica. The personalized ‘digital body’ is then unlocked by a solicited designer to create a truly customized product such as a suit, helmet or even a bra. The difference between Body Labs and your favorite tailor? Movement. Static measurements are different than your shape and movement, but Body Labs technology provides a mathematical model of how your body moves and changes positions. This technical level of customization and fit goes beyond a mannequin and reduces the need for multiple fittings. One Body Labs scan can be used infinitely across various articles of clothing and retailers to ensure a level of customized perfection. Debating between a Burberry or Balmain coat? Matching your avatar against major brands patterns will yield more educated purchasing.
Bringing the Fit to Fitness
Beyond retail, fitness enthusiasts can scan their bodies at various stages of an exercise regimen to obtain a 3D visual of progress. And for better or worse, the avatars are EXACT and can be manipulated to move, dance and jiggle just as in real life.
In the advent of iWatch and other fitness apps, Body Labs allows for the body to become the platform, and new startups could benefit from building on the digital platform. CEO Bill O’Farrell of Body Labs stated, “If you believe that technology is going to allow companies and businesses to provide goods and services that are more tailored to individuals, the body is the key component around which those goods and services have to be designed and manufactured.” The company is currently working on an API to allow for other startups and businesses to integrate body technology into their own apps.
Body Labs is working to expand their API with the film and gaming industry, as their breadth of avatars can be made to animate with any motion capture data. They are also working in the professional athlete space to create precision-made clothing for the best performance possible. Prosthetics and orthopedics can also benefit from exact body measurements. Even the U.S. Army is working with Body Labs to create custom body armor. Needless to say, the opportunities are vast, and in time, we can expect to see a new level of customization brought to the masses.