Looks like the Aussies aren't the only ones with sizing problems.
The U.S. Army has implemented a wide-ranging program to assess the relative sizing of Soldiers on active duty, in the Guard and Reserve. Today, lots of Soldier kit is developed based on relative sizing data from the mid-1980s. Turns out when the balloon went up in Afghanistan in 2001, there was a lot of gear that didn't fit today's Soldiers who, as a result of better nutrition and fitness, are bigger on average than their 1970s and '80s counterparts.
The survey includes 94 measurements of the body as well as three 3-D scans. The scans are of the whole body, the head and face and a foot. While the measurements are point to point, the 3-D scans are able to map the contours of the human body, creating a more accurate picture of body composition that will aid in the design of systems for Soldiers in the future.This is incredibly important when it comes to developing vehicle and aircraft spaces for troops. Remember the V-22 Osprey was supposed to carry 24 "fully loaded troops," but I think you'd be hard pressed to fit 20 at all. That has something to do with gear, but also head and shoulder space factored into the design. Think about the Stryker vehicle, Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and any Ground Combat Vehicle ideas that come cropping up. This kind of study can help inform specs so troopers' knees and necks aren't crunched when the hatch closes.
"It is an engineering database. Its purpose is to help design digital human models for computer-aided design and other simulators as well as the development of models for individual equipment and clothing; everything from socks to body armor to headgear. There are broad applications for this data across all the engineering and design disciplines for the Army and Army gear."
The data gathered will also find application in the design of vehicle interior spaces. This extends from aircraft to ground vehicles to ensure the people operating the systems will be able to do so, and that entrance and egress points will be large enough to accommodate Soldiers while wearing their equipment.
The data will also be used in the development of future technologies such as improved body armor that will be created with the contours of the human form in mind.