3D mannequin helps cyclist Tom Dumoulin go for gold


Olympic silver medallist Tom Dumoulin is confident of winning a gold medal in the men’s time trial at the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Road World Championships in Doha on Wednesday (October 12) – and the leading cyclist has a secret weapon.

A new skinsuit worn by the Dutchman was developed by researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), in conjunction with his team, Team Giant-Alpecin, using an unusual technique.

The inter-disciplinary team from TU Delft scanned Dumoulin’s body using photogrammetry, before 3D printing a full-sized replica mannequin of his body in classic riding posture. The mannequin was then dressed in a series of skinsuits made of various fabrics and placed on his bicycle saddle, where it underwent a series of test in the university’s wind tunnel.

Dr Jouke Verlinden, of TU Delft’s Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, led the development of the mannequin, which first involved placing 150 DSLR cameras in a room and programming them to each simultaneously take a single image of Dumoulin sitting absolutely still on the cycle.

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