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Mannequin

Unless you work for a medical school or a research lab, you probably haven't priced out cadavers lately. If you were to do so, however, you'd find that they generally cost anywhere from nothing up to around US$10,000. On top of that, however, there are transport and disposal fees, the need for specialized storage facilities and staff, and the fact that they're not reusable. That's why SynDaver Labs has been creating ultra-realistic synthetic human bodies and body parts for several years now. Instead of filling in for a dead body, its latest product plays the part of a live patient.

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For something commonly called a "dummy," the mannequins used in crash tests are surprisingly sophisticated and so specialized that they're not much use out of automotive safety labs. When the US Army went looking for a dummy of its own, it had to go back to square one by awarding a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems (DTS) to help develop the first instrumented dummy designed for military vehicle blast testing. Read More
Retail therapy has become a tad more high-tech in the UK. A group of British high street retailers is trying out mannequins enabled with a wireless technology called VMBeacon that expands the shopping experience with digital technology. Developed by Iconeme, the wireless mannequins send customers information about clothes on display, giving retailers an extra channel of contact with shoppers and passers-by. Read More
The British Ministry of Defence has a new soldier that costs £1.1 million (US$1.8 million) and goes by the odd name of “Porton Man.” Based at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in Porton Down, Wiltshire, Porton Man isn't your average squaddie. He’s a robotic mannequin designed to test suits and equipment for the British armed forces in order to help protect them against chemical and biological weapons. Read More
Is the fashion industry ready for a robot takeover? A new robotic mannequin developed by South Korea's IMD Communications may give rivals from Japan some competition. It comes in three varieties, each named after an Indian god and programmed with its own modeling behaviors. Endrani is described as a 30-something woman who exudes elegance, Dipani highlights women's confidence and creativity, and Marian – the most dynamic of the three – symbolizes strength and the outdoors. Read More
Do you ever get the creep feeling that store mannequins are ... watching you? Well, that feeling may now be justified. Italian display form company Almax has recently introduced its EyeSee line of mannequins, that are equipped with cameras and microprocessors in their heads. Read More
Comic book artists and animators often use posable mannequins or motion capture to help get tricky action postures just right, but transferring the figures to paper or computer screens still involves drawing or learning complicated animation and mo-cap software, not to mention all the cameras, hardware and people in funny suits running around. Last year, we reported on the efforts of a Japanese consortium to create what is essentially an action figure equipped with sensors at several joints that would allow real-time pose generation of on-screen CG characters. Still in development then, it's now called Qumarion and when it hits the market in a few months, it'll no doubt prove to be a major time saver for artists and animators alike. Read More
It appears that there's a number of customers willing to pay a lot to be in possession of a lifelike replica of their face or even their whole head ... or at least, REAL-f hopes so. The Japanese company offers extremely realistic 3D models of human faces and heads made using vinyl chloride resin, based on its own technique called 3DPFs (3 Dimension Photo Forms). Read More
The Fits.me virtual fitting room is an online changing room where you simply enter your sizing statistics and a robotic mannequin models how various sizes will look on your torso - all from the comfort of your own home. Among a host of advantages, the virtual fitting room saves time - the one commodity destined to always be in short supply and solves the single biggest problem for online fashion retail - the lack of a fitting room. When it was introduced for men last year, sales to new customers increased by 57%, and sales to international customers doubled. Now it's available for women too. Read More
When devices such as telephone handsets, headsets, headphones, hearing aids and hearing protectors are electro-acoustically tested, mannequins known as Head and Torso Simulators (HATS) are used to replicate the upper part of the human body. They allow researchers to simulate Head Related Transfer Function, which is the process by which sounds are changed by the time they reach the human eardrum. The mannequins' calibrated pinna (outer ear) simulators have traditionally been represented through a series of two-dimensional cross-sectional profiles – this is the industry standard for pinnas on HATS. Now, as part of a revision of that standard, the Acoustics Team from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have created a three-dimensional pinna that overcomes the limitations of the 2D variety. Read More
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