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12/03/2010

[TC]2 Reports on Haiti Initiatives, 3D Body Scanning, More at Board Meeting

[TC]2, the Textile/Clothing Technology Corp., Cary, N.C., reported on a variety of research and industry training initiatives at its recent semi-annual board of directors meeting.
 
Efforts in Haiti
[TC]2's Will Duncan, vice president of business development, reported on the Aug. 10 grand opening of the Haiti Apparel Center (HAC), initially delayed due to the Jan. 12 earthquake.
 
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and operated in partnership with CHF International, HAC is designed to train more than 2,000 professionals per year to help meet the need for skilled workers in Haiti's garment industry. The curriculum was developed by and is being administered under the direction of [TC]2 and includes operator, mechanics, middle management and supervisor training, as well as quality training and a quarterly executive seminar series focused on global issues.
 
Duncan says the focus is on "training the trainers" and noted that 20 trainers and 223 operators have been trained thus far, with plans for an additional 12 trainers to complete programs in the immediate future.
 
Delayed, but still in the works, is a Lean Manufacturing Demonstration Center, for which funding is being sought via the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, says Duncan. "This avenue will allow full package production, which Haiti can't do right now," he says. "We need the industry's support to get funding."
 
According to the USAID , in addition to providing vocational training, HAC will further enable Haiti to maximize the benefits of the Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act signed into law in May, which improves U.S. market access for Haitian apparel exports. HELP also promotes investment in Haiti and supports the rebuilding of the garment sector. USAID cites a Congressional Research Service report issued in June that estimates rebuilding costs for the industry to refurbish damaged buildings, replace machinery and train new employees at $38 million.
 
"Scan-at-Home" initiative underway
As reported by [TC]2's vice president of technology development, David Bruner, the organization participated in a recent international 3D body scanning conference in Lugano, Switzerland, and outlined details of its "Scan-at-Home" initiative. Bruner says the new online program has been designed for individuals to be able to create more accurate 3D body representations (measurements and avatars), in the privacy of their own home, than previously possible with "manual measurement"-based systems.
 
Using statistical information from thousands of actual 3D body scans, [TC]2 has reduced the error from "silhouette or shadow scan" measurement systems by more than 50 percent, says Bruner.
 
"While pictures taken in-home are not as accurate as a high quality 3D body scan, the process is more accurate than some low-end 3D scanning systems, and the cost/quality equation combined with the ability to address entire markets over the web introduces exciting application possibilities," says Bruner.
 
[TC]2's goal is to address size prediction and fashion visualization apparel applications with higher accuracy, and the creation of fidelity avatars for any online 3D application, says Bruner. A Scan-at-Home beta test program is being launched, with expectations to offer the full service early in 2011. To participate in the beta test program, send an e-mail including your name, beta test participation request, and affiliation to [email protected]. All beta-test participants will receive their 3D avatars and measurement outputs.
 
In other news, [TC]2 has deployed its first high profile 3D body scanning and virtual fashion system in Europe. The Cocor Store, located in the historical center of Bucharest, Romania, has added 3D body scanning and virtual fashion applications from [TC]2 to its retail technology showcase. According to Samuel Tulimianu, Cocor creative director, "We started scanning the first of October and everything works great! The body scan fashion avatars look fantastic! Awesome!"
 
To learn more
[TC]2 provides a range of solutions for the global soft goods industry specializing in technology development and supply chain improvement. Its initiatives include the broad investigation and demonstration of advanced technologies and education, training and consulting for brands, retailers, manufacturers and suppliers. The Cary facility hosts tours of its demonstration center which incorporates technologies and business processes that support the transition to a digital supply chain. To learn more, visit tc2.com.
 
Susan S. Nichols is publisher of Apparel. She can be reached at [email protected].