Skeletons. You know them. You see them hanging in windows or propped up against fences every October, as families joyfully prepare their homes to celebrate Halloween. But while those skeleton representations are meant to playfully scare us, you will never see anything like the real thing in people’s front yards. The Halloween variety is the very opposite of what we do.
At Anthrotech, quality is our goal. And if you’re looking into starting a large-scale (or even small-scale) project that requires precise anthropometric data, you won’t settle for anything less than the best. And to produce the perfect design, whether it’s Halloween-related project or not, the Anthrotech team knows how to get you real and reliable results.
But how exactly can we produce the highest quality bodily measurements? Can’t anybody just do it?
In order to answer these and other questions, we asked Anthrotech’s President Bruce Bradtmiller to let us take a glimpse into how their team prepares for data collection.
According to Bradtmiller, the team first reviews the measurements with respect to the skeleton. “The skeleton is the central building block of the body, and skeletal dimensions affect nearly every other dimension.” Then the team practices the whole measurement list on a series of practice participants. We compare measurements between Measurer A and Measurer B, and do a task breakdown to figure out why there are differences. We then tweak the procedures until the differences between measurers are minimized. It’s also important to practice taking the measurements on people of different body weights, because people with similar skeletons can have very different waist circumferences, for example.
“Quality measurements depend on careful procedures and the proper posture of the person being measured,” Anthrotech’s president said. Our measurement definitions specify very precisely the posture for each measurement. That maximizes the uniformity of measurements between participants and minimizes the opportunity for measurement error. And of course, we always use a measurer/recorder pair, so the recorder is on the lookout for any deviations from the defined posture or the defined procedure.
So could you take these measurements yourself? Of course. You can also get body measurements from your cell phone with a number of different apps. But will the values you get be the same as those from a trained anthropometrist? Probably not. Self-measurement, or boyfriend/girlfriend measurement, or cell phone measurements, should all be considered estimates of the measured value.
“Products, such as VR headsets or other wearables, need to be precisely placed with respect to users’ bodies,” Bradtmiller said. And that requires a precise understanding of the underlying shape of the body. But because people vary “in many interesting ways,” that’s why Anthrotech does what it does.
So enjoy the little fright when you see that skeleton hanging in the window. But if you need to know the actual size of those skeletal dimensions, please call Anthrotech!