A functional-based segmentation of human body scans in arbitrary postures

Naoufel Werghi, Yijun Xiao, Jan Paul Siebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This paper presents a general framework that aims to address the task of segmenting three-dimensional (3-D) scan data representing the human form into subsets which correspond to functional human body parts. Such a task is challenging due to the articulated and deformable nature of the human body. A salient feature of this framework is that it is able to cope with various body postures and is in addition robust to noise, holes, irregular sampling and rigid transformations. Although whole human body scanners are now capable of routinely capturing the shape of the whole body in machine readable format, they have not yet realized their potential to provide automatic extraction of key body measurements. Automated production of anthropometric databases is a prerequisite to satisfying the needs of certain industrial sectors (e.g., the clothing industry). This implies that in order to extract specific measurements of interest, whole body 3-D scan data must be segmented by machine into subsets corresponding to functional human body parts. However, previously reported attempts at automating the segmentation process suffer from various limitations, such as being restricted to a standard specific posture and being vulnerable to scan data artifacts. Our human body segmentation algorithm advances the state of the art to overcome the above limitations and we present experimental results obtained using both real and synthetic data that confirm the validity, effectiveness, and robustness of our approach.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • 3-D surface topology
  • 3-D whole-body scanners
  • Human body shape analysis
  • Reeb graph
  • Scattered 3-D range data segmentation


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