The National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) has launched the first national standard body-size chart for Thai people. It is called "Size Thai."
The director of Nectec's Knowledge Elicitation and Archiving Laboratory Chularat Tanprasert said the chart was developed using three-dimensional body scanning technology and data collected from 13,442 people from all parts of the country. The job took two years.
The result of the research is now available free of charge at www.sizethailand.org, for businesses and organisations that need to know the size of Thai people for developing textiles, automobiles, furniture, healthcare and medical products. The chart includes average measurements for height, weight, waistline, hips and chest. However, "in-depth" results are another matter.
"Our four main sponsors will receive in-depth Size Thai results, but other organisations that want in-depth information need to buy the research," Chularat said.
Thailand is the second country in Asia region, following Japan, to have used three-dimensional body scanning technology to develop a "national body size". The new data will help businesses improved their efficiency by being able to manufacture products such as garments and cars with a design more suited to Thais. It is hoped the information will also put an end to resource wastage by industries stocking ill-fitting products.
"For example, in the United States and United Kingdom, where national body-size charts have been developed with 3D body-scanning technology, many garment retailers report that they can improve sales and minimise product returns because their clothing better fits the shape of their target buyers," Chularat said.
She said a three-dimensional body scanner works by projecting white beams onto the body which are detected by 12 sensors. The information captured by the sensors is processed by a computer to form outlines of major features which are then connected to make an image of a 3D surface. Then, software determines landmarks on the body and automatically measures the physical figure.
The two-year Size Thai research was sponsored by Toyota (Thailand), Tesco Lotus, Wacoal, and Thanulux - the manufacturer of Arrow shirts. Each invested Bt5 million in the project.
It was also supported by partners including the Thai Industrial Standards Institute, Kasetsart University, the National Statistical Office, Ramathibodi Hospital, the Thai Tailors' Association, the Thailand Textile Institute, the Federation of Thai Industry, and Pattern IT.
"Size Thai cost a total of Bt40 million," Chularat said. "Nectec invested Bt20 million and the four sponsors contributed another Bt20 million."
Size Thai can be used in many industries involving the body size of Thai people and can also be used in new business applications such as "made-to-measure" and "virtual try-on" services for clothing businesses, she said.