Using 3D Scanning To Make Shoes Fit Perfectly

Meet Caroline Walerud -the 25-Year-Old Swedish woman who wants you to forget your shoe size. Or, at least, to forget that number you’ve been reeling off to salespeople for years, like a U.S. 9, or a European 40. It’s likely that it isn’t quite right anyway, given the complex anatomical structure of our feet and the inconsistent sizing used by footwear brands.

“Half of women regularly buy shoes that don’t fit,” says the 25-year-old, who is a member of the first ever Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list.

Walerud’s company, Stockholm-based Volumental, aims to solve this problem. Since 2012, the Cambridge University neuroscience graduate has been working alongside her three cofounders — computer vision experts — to build technology that uses 3D scanning to ensure a perfect fit.

Volumental’s hardware includes a platform that looks not unlike a high-tech scale (see below). All a shoe shopper has to do is stand on it, and depth cameras take a 3D, volumetric scan of each foot. The company’s software, which includes Intel INTC +0.00% and Microsoft MSFT +0.00% technology, captures data points including arch length and ball width that a shoe retailer would find it tough to measure accurately using traditional tools.

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