Techworld

Coming to a shopping centre near you: 3D body scanners

Startup uses Kinect-like technology to take measurements for fitness and fashion

Improving on the old coin-operated scale, a new Australian startup is placing walk-in 3D body scanners in shopping centres to take people’s measurements.

The Sydney-based company, mPort, on Monday went public with a subscription service targeting people who want to keep track of their fitness or get accurate clothing measurements.

The company is co-founded by Dipra Ray, who is also the co-founder of a startup called NexPay that provides low exchange rates for foreign students.

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The first mPort scanner is located at the Westfield Warriangh mall in Manly. Ray told Computerworld Australia that the startup plans to deploy 15-20 more devices in other high foot-traffic areas by the end of 2013. The startup paid to lease space at the Westfield but may also explore commercial partnerships with retailers to place the body scanners in store.

The mPort pods use infrared technology similar to the Microsoft Kinect camera to take measurements, Ray said. That means it does not pose any radiation health risk or see through clothes like an airport security scanner.

“People are not very comfortable with the airport scanners as they are,” said Ray. However, a downside of the technology is that users must wear tight-fitting clothes to receive an accurate measurement, he said.

Customers can track their measurements over time through the mPort website, which will be viewable on a PC or mobile device. Statistics include BMI, fat content, waist-to-hip-ratio, as well as measurements of biceps, chest, thighs and more. The startup also provides a mechanism to set and track goals.

The data is stored on mPort’s servers. “None of the measurements are stored locally” at the booth, he said. “We have absolute confidence in the security of our systems, so people can’t just have access to your measurements randomly.”

While mPort is exploring commercial agreements to share customer measurements with retailers, Ray said customers will have to first give permission before the data can be used.

Users can get two free scans a year, or for more frequent access subscribe to plans ranging from $20 to $100 per year.

Besides expected user revenue, the startup is so far completely self-funded by the founders, but mPort is working on securing a grant from Commercialisation Australia and may soon look to raise external capital, Ray said.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Techworld Australia on Twitter: @Techworld_AU

Tags healthWestfieldmPortfashion3D body scannerfitnessMicrosoft KinectWarringahStartupmeasurements

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4 Comments

lisa thao

1

What an eyesore. Why should I remove my clothes to know exactly my height and weight? This is technology being used unnecessarily and that my Wii fit can give me an exceptional reading so why bother?

uninformedluddite

2

It is Warringah Mall and it is in Brookvale not Manly. Who does the research for these articles? A 12yo intern?

Tonymaddens

3

This is useless...$100 a year? What a rip off! Have the creators ever thought of using good ol fashion measuring tape and a scale? And people are not comfortable with airport scanners and have the choice to be scanned with it or not, I would find it awfully uncomfortable to remove my clothes in a booth just to know my measurements.

nomas

4

Their website says over 100k > scans? With a population as big as warringa is that even possible? I find that figure very misleading and the terms and co. page looks like a high school grad student wrote this. Looks like a port-a-loo

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