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3D scanner-based Body Volume Index launched

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October 20, 2010

The Body Volume Index uses a 3D scanning process to analyze fat distribution

The Body Volume Index uses a 3D scanning process to analyze fat distribution

Currently, if healthcare practitioners are trying to determine how overweight a patient is, they use the Body Mass Index, or BMI. Invented in the mid-1800s, the BMI is an international standard formula for establishing ideal body weight which involves dividing a person’s weight by the square of their height. The resulting number is then compared to those on a chart, which fall into the categories of Underweight, Normal, Overweight, Obese and Morbidly Obese. A group of international researchers, however, are proposing that the BMI be replaced with a more detailed system, the Body Volume Index, or BVI. Using a 3D white-light scanner, the BVI identifies where the fat is distributed on a patient’s body, and how that compares to what’s normal.

After ten years of development, the BVI was officially launched earlier this month.

The system was designed by Select Research in Birmingham, England. Over 2,000 test subjects were scanned at collaborating research institutes in the UK, Europe and the U.S., to establish norms for fat deposition in various parts of the body – these norms allowed for age, gender, body shape and body composition.

To use the BVI, an underwear-clad patient stands in a booth equipped with 16 sensors and 32 cameras, which are controlled by a computer. The scan itself takes just six seconds, and within two minutes over 200 linear data measurements of the patient’s body are saved to a secure server. These measurements can then be compared to the norms, possibly alerting doctors to the potential for heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.

“What BVI now offers the world is a brand new way of measuring the abdominal area which BMI simply cannot do,” said Select Research’s Richard Barnes, MD. “BMI was never meant to be used as an individual assessment for obesity and we believe that after nearly 200 years, each patient deserves to be measured in a way that takes their own body shape and lifestyle factors into account.”

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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4 Comments

BMI is, was & will always be a furfie or pain in the rectum. I know people with morbidly obese BMIs who are muscular with virtually no fat or less than 14%. BMI is always a bad way of checking out your health. I used to be, by BMI standards, an obese person for 6'6" although I stand 6'1". Now I am quite overweight but then I was nowhere near overweight. Muscularity is not determined by BMI & it should be excreted forthwith & further more...

Rex Alfie Lee
20th October, 2010 @ 07:03 pm PDT

Great tool to help recognize areas that need attention in an effort to fight obesity! Hooah!

Staff Sergeant Ken Weichert
21st October, 2010 @ 06:31 am PDT

Why anyone would refer to BMI- it was never designed as a medical tool in any way. It was created by insurance statisticians to describe the whole population so irrelevant for indiduals.

cloa513
21st October, 2010 @ 06:51 am PDT

The BMI was created and is still valid as a simple formula. It cannot say if you are fat or strong, it just say you got normal, subnormal or overnormal weight comparing to your height. Nothing less, nothing more. If you want more, there are for many years pro tools, which can cheap and fast measure fat/muscle amount/percentage in your left/right leg/hand & trunk (i measure it every month in my fitness) using different conductibility of fat and muscles. So why would you invent some even more complex device and some other stupid formula?

Tomáš Kapler
21st October, 2010 @ 09:40 am PDT
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