Aetrex announced they are now providing comprehensive 3D data for foot scans, which can be used for 3D printing.
Foot 3D scans are something that’s been under deep investigation by many companies for years. The idea is that if one could capture the precise measurements of a person’s foot, a corresponding 3D model for a shoe could be built by software. Then, the 3D model could be printed to immediately produce a perfectly-fitting custom shoe.
There have been lots of attempts at this concept, but none seem to be widely accepted yet. Part of the issue is obtaining the scans.
Proper foot scanning requires use of expensive specialty 3D scanners, and also buyers willing to travel to a location to be scanned. Those are clearly friction for sales, hence the slow growth of the concept.
One of the companies producing foot 3D scanners is Aetrex, and they’ve been using them around the world for some time.
The company just announced they’ve opened “foot.com”, a portal where this type of data can be accessed. It’s described as “The World’s Ultimate Source for 3D Foot Data”, and that’s likely true.
Their system uses an optical scanning approach to collect data, which is then pushed through a proprietary software system to generate a complete 3D model of the foot in question. They say it is the “most accurate 3D reconstruction of a foot”.
You may be wondering why this is interesting, and here’s the idea: this concept should open up many more possibilities for 3D printing shoes.
Those companies wishing to launch a 3D printed shoe operation could simply access this portal to obtain full 3D models, which can then be used to “wrap” shoe designs around them. The 3D models provide 16 key measurements that are commonly used to size shoe designs.
Aetrex SVP of Engineering Kumar Rajan explains:
“Foot.com allows subscribers to click a map view to access data from regions around the world, broken down by average shoe size, by gender and by country. For example, a footwear developer who wants to develop an anatomically correct last for a women’s shoe size 8 can download the average 3D measurements of the foot in different regions, or pinpoint one country to make a well informed last.”
Aetrex doesn’t supply 3D printers or shoe designs, but instead provides the precise data needed for others to create those new 3D printable designs. That’s where the opportunity lies here: 3D entrepreneurs can leverage Aetrex’s scanners and software to build a 3D printed shoe business.
While this operation is all about foot dimensions, there are plenty of other body parts that could use a service to help 3D print companies innovate.