Did 3D scanning help an Olympian secure the silver?

In light of this summer’s Olympics, currently being held in London, it seems appropriate to touch on the ways in which computer vision has contributed to the international sports competition. Most recently, it has been related to fitout, which, for kayakers, mean the building of custom parts of the kayak that fit to the bodies of the competitors.

Researchers at the Australian Institute of Sport have been doing just that, working to make the athlete, the kayak, and the paddle all act as one cohesive unit.

According to Ami Drory, a biomechanist working on this project: “A good fitout allows the athlete to use their full range of motion while transferring as much force as possible into the water.”

Unfortunately, working on the fitout requires a lot of time and a lot of wasted material, which is why the institute decided to call upon a specialist at Canadian 3D-scanning developer Creaform. Together, they scanned athletes bodies in position as well as the kayaks they planned to compete in, to make the best possible fit.

And as it turns out, one of the athletes scanned, 18-year-old Jessica Fox, went on to take the silver medal this week. That’s not to say that she wouldn’t have done well without it, but for all anyone knows, this fitting could have propelled her from merely participating in the Olympics to being a medal holder.

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