Number of Employees: 5 full-time; 3 part-time
Describe what your business does: We supply human body size and shape data, along with insight about that data, to commercial and government customers. Our customers use that information to design better-fitting products, from aircraft cockpits to fashion jeans to virtual reality headsets. We obtain the data though traditional measurement techniques (tapes and calipers) as well as through 3D scanning. Then we analyze the data and provide it in a way that’s useful for product design.
What inspired you to start this business? It started in 1950 at Antioch College and became a separate business in 1977. In the earliest days, our predecessors were focused on reducing injuries in military aircraft. They quickly realized that the information they gathered and organized could be used to improve the fit, comfort and function of a wide variety of products. We have continued that tradition, and now support the development of wearable electronic devices, baby-related products, medical devices and more. In fact, most of our current work involves improving products that were not even around in 1950.
How has your business embraced innovation? We have been at the forefront of using 3D scans for body size and shape and have helped in the development of state-of-the-art scanning devices. We make use of a wide variety of new tools as they become available. Now we can characterize a person’s shape, as well as his/her size. It provides a richer design experience for our clients.
What’s your biggest challenge right now? Our biggest challenge right now is adhering to the various COVID requirements. It’s generally not possible to measure someone from a 6-foot distance. Even when scanning, which is typically a non-contact process, we would usually mark specific points on the body prior to scanning. So we’ve had to adjust our procedures to maximize safety, and to allow for additional COVID cleaning and rest periods. All of those changes affect project cost, but they have allowed us to carry on our work in ways that are safe for our participants and our staff.
What’s your biggest opportunity right now? We think there is a need for our services in the development of well-fitting, but affordable, face masks and other personal protective equipment. We will also be looking at what has been the traditional office furniture market and has now become the home-office furniture market. And we’re going to focus more on medical devices used by physicians, nurses and technicians.
What do you want readers to know about your business today? That there is this unique company in America working every day to help products fit better, fit more comfortably and function more effectively.