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Foot gauge heads to US
TECHNOLOGY developed in Malvern to find unexploded bombs will now be used to measure children's feet in America, having already been taken up in the UK.
The US' biggest children's footwear retailer and manufacturer, Stride Rite, has begun a trial to evaluate QinetiQ's 3D foot gauge, a system designed to produce highly accurate foot measurements.
Foot gauges were installed in three Stride Rite stores in the Boston area earlier this month. The firm has been making shoes in the US for more than 85 years and operates a nationwide chain of nearly 450 stores.
The agreement follows hot on the heels of a £4.6m contract earlier this year between QinetiQ and Clarks Shoes in Britain. Clarks is currently part way through a programme to install QinetiQ foot gauges in all of its UK and Irish stores, with some 250 units installed and in operation to date.
The 3D foot gauge, which uses six 3D camera systems, is used to measure children's feet quickly and accurately, providing highly detailed length, girth and shape data and helping to ensure the best fit possible.
Jay Nannicelli, senior vice president of retail operations at Stride Rite, said: "We are committed to providing Stride Rite customers with the best shoe fit possible."
She added: "I am looking forward to exploring how this system might help make our current fitting service even better."
The foot gauge is based on innovative 3D optical ranging technology developed and patented by QinetiQ. The origins of the technology can be traced back to work done for the UK Ministry of Defence on the detection of unexploded ordnance.
Amanda Turner, product director at QinetiQ, added: "The 3D foot gauge is a true commercial success for QinetiQ, proving we can quickly transfer know-how derived from our work with the military into a purely commercial product."
QinetiQ is currently discussing further evaluation of the foot gauge with a number of other international footwear retailers and manufacturers. Opportunities to apply the underpinning 3D measuring technology for the clothing retail market are also being actively explored.