What is the Body Volume Index (BVI)?
Based on individual body shape rather than one standard measurement technique for all people, BVI divides the body shape of an individual into sections so that the body volume of the body parts and body composition can be analysed. This allows BVI to differentiate between people with the same Body Mass Index (BMI) rating.

Scans of 8 Women with a BMI of 30.0 but with different Body Volume Measurements

Scans of 8 Women with a BMI of 30.0 but with different Body Volume Measurements

BVI is the world’s first dedicated computer based anthropometric system and allows a healthcare professional to:-

  • Measure a patient in less than 6 seconds without any radiation or intervention whilst being comfortable for the patient.
  • Measure the differences in body shape between patients with the same BMI rating or waist circumference.
  • Objectively track an individual’s data over time to assess changes in a patient’s body shape.
  • Use a health risk indicator by combining a person’s 3D shape with their medical statistics, height, weight, age and gender.

How does a BVI scanner work?
A patient walks into the 7ft scanner and is scanned in their underclothes to ensure that the contours of the skin are correctly measured – the system is perfectly safe as no radiation is involved and the whole process takes 2-3 minutes from start to finish. BVI data is captured using a 3D camera, but in reality is better described as a ‘Human Photocopier’ – copying a person’s body shape to get measurements that simply can’t be done by the human hand.

BVIThe scan is saved on a secure server anonymously to be accessed by authorised healthcare professionals, takes less than 6 seconds and can extract an infinite combination of measurements for healthcare analysis. Body Volume Imaging is perfectly safe and uses white light only, reflected on the body to create an exact ‘virtual’ image of a person’s shape and weight distribution.

BMI is based on height and weight only, but the BVI system automatically measures BMI, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio (WHR) in addition to highly sophisticated volumetric and body composition analysis. It is projected that the scientific and technical development of BVI may follow a similar timescale to BMI, so 2020 is the current projected date for adoption and delivery on the scale required.

BVI has undergone clinical trials in the USA and Europe as part of a three year collaborative project, the results of which were presented in October 2010 at a publicly funded launch in Birmingham, UK, with scientific research and evaluation continuing into 2012.

2013 saw 6 scientific and 7 academic institutions involved in the evaluation and validation of BVI as a potential new health risk measurement and indicator.

Developments in 2013 included initial benchmarking of BVI values for children aged 4-17 and the collation of 3D data in the US and Europe for normative reference data for BVI in male and female adults and development of an on-line BVI measurement system, allowing it to be used on the same basis as the BMI (Body Mass Index).

Until the time when BVI allows us to better measure weight distribution, the implication for office seating is clear – the more precisely that individuals can describe their body shape now the more definitive will be their furniture requirements.