By Jane Benson and Joseph Parham, NSRDECMay 30, 2017
NATICK, Mass. -- The raw data from one of the world's largest and most comprehensive anthropometric surveys are now available to the public.
The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, has released the raw data from the 2012 Army-wide Anthropometric Survey, or ANSUR II. The survey was conducted by NSRDEC experts and contractors, who collected 93 body measurements and three-dimensional surface scans of thousands of Soldiers across the country. The released raw data from 4,082 male and 1,986 female Soldiers include demographic data such as age, race and gender as well as body measurements, such as stature, weight, chest circumference, head length and foot width.
The raw data are now available at:
People interested in using the raw data may consult NSRDEC anthropologist Joseph Parham for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The effective design and optimization of a wide array of products -- including vehicles, airplane cockpits, work stations, protective clothing, helmets and backpacks -- all require anthropometric data. In addition to benefiting the Army, the data is beneficial to anyone who works in human factors, also called ergonomics, including designers in the clothing, automobile and furniture industries -- to name just a few.
"The broad release of these raw U.S. Army anthropometric survey data will expand the number of groups within the Department of Defense that have direct access to recent Soldier body size information for a number of potential applications, such as clothing design and sizing, vehicle crew-station layout and even physical fitness assessment," said Steve Paquette, a research anthropologist and team leader for NSRDEC's Anthropology Team.
"It will also provide numerous product designers outside the military a valuable resource for understanding the range of body size variation that exists among a large segment of their potential commercial market."
NSRDEC is a leader in human factors research, which investigates the interaction between Soldiers and the equipment they use and the clothing they wear in order to optimize fit, comfort, safety, survivability and performance. NSRDEC's human factors research combines the expertise of top scientists and engineers, who specialize in biomechanics, cognitive science and anthropometry.
"I would say that NSRDEC possesses a group of anthropologists and human engineers who are expert at applying human body size data in the design and sizing of protective clothing and equipment systems and ensuring that the resulting products provide optimal fit and performance," said Paquette.
"Successful implementation of this process involves knowing how to translate raw body size data into meaningful numbers and statistics that can be used by clothing designers and pattern makers as they begin to formulate initial design concepts leading toward functional prototypes."
In addition to NSRDEC releasing the raw data for the 2012 database, a technical report with summary statistics has already been released. The ANSUR II Methods and Summary Statistics Technical Report (TR 15/007) is available online at: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a611869.pdf . These summary statistics are already widely used in the private sector. The release of the raw data, which include all the data collected for each subject, will further aid those enterprises.
The data from the 2012 survey will remain relevant for years to come. It is not only one of the largest databases in the world for anthropometric data, it is also one of the most rigorously obtained. NSRDEC researchers adhere to strict guidelines and controls for obtaining data, making the data more trustworthy than data obtained from sources operating under less-stringent guidelines.
The 2012 data replace data from the last survey, which took place in 1988. The 2012 survey reflects the physical changes in the Army population, including lifestyle, nutrition and demographics. The updated information is crucial for designing clothing and equipment that fit and function properly and for ensuring that individual components in a system work and fit together well. The data are being used by NSRDEC researchers to develop digital human models, reflecting the changes in the population's body size and proportions.
ANSUR II data are currently being used to investigate the need for a new sizing system, since previous standards for large, medium and small sizes are no longer optimized for a population that has changed considerably since 1988. The new sizing would reflect a population that is larger overall, and the availability of larger sizes could increase to ensure that all Soldiers have access to the correct size. Moreover, a new master pattern may need to be established, since the existing medium-regular size no longer falls in the middle of the body size distribution of Soldiers.
NSRDEC researchers are the lead in an effort to develop a new theoretical sizing system that will be applicable to not only clothing but to every piece of equipment, so that if a Soldier, for example, is a medium in one item, he or she will be a medium in all items. Currently, many pieces of equipment have their own unique sizing system, and this is not the most efficient approach toward standardizing sizing across clothing and individual equipment.
Anthropometric data were also collected on a sample of Army aviators, and the 2012 Anthropometric Survey of U.S. Army Pilot Personnel: Methods and Summary Statistics technical report (TR 16/013) is also available online at: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a634277.pdf
The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.