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iPad portable 3d foot scanner

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by timberh, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. timberh

    timberh Member

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    Hello all,
    does anyone have any experience of using the hand held ipad 3d foot scanners? I'm trying to decide whether it's worth investing in one.
  2. Talk to Ian Drakard- you can private message him from this site- go to members list, find his name... he's my go to man on this topic.
  3. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Does it allow you to hold the foot in the position you want it to be in when scanning?

  4. Not unless you're a clever dick.
  5. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    My guess would be that the ipad works the same way as a structured light scanner. Providing you can position the foot like Craig said you should be okay. Structured light scanners can be fiddly due to light issues but if used correctly are very accurate and practical. I actually prefer them over laser light scanners because you can position the foot very much in the same you would when taking a NWB cast. Quite a bit cheaper as well.
  6. timberh

    timberh Member

    they use a sulcus stick to keep the foot in sub-talar neutral. apparently there is a way of manipulating the fore foot and hallux also, though this hasn't been demonstrated to me yet.
    Thanks for the reply Craig

  7. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    At the end of the day, you need both hands free to position and hold the foot in the position needed. And the design software used needs to have the ability to "erase" your hands.

    I do believe that the future of 'scanning' will be in the form of our smartphones or tablets, especially if they eventually have dual forward facing camera's (for 3d photos)

    This one looks most promising at the moment:
  8. Lab Guy

    Lab Guy Well-Known Member

    You are right Craig. I have an Ipad structure foot scanner and you just have to have an assistant capture the data while you use your two hands to position the foot. Our software deletes the fingers.

  9. Doughorne

    Doughorne Welcome New Poster

    Do you think there will be any value in positioning the foot in a near neutral position ( or in an position at least where the rear foot is as near to what you need) by positioning the leg then scanning it with a structure scanner?
    I understand their will be variables such as soft tissue tightness etc , but if you have soft ware which can manipulate the foot to where you want as opposed to physically holding it , could it work ?
  10. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    It can and should be any position you think is clinically appropriate. That doesn't necessarily mean you scan with the STJ in 'perceived' neutral.

    I think it can work but I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing? I think it reduces subjectivity by scanning foot morphology in a desired position as a baseline in comparison to scanning and then trying to achieve the same result using software. It also comes down to how good the software is. A lot of orthotic creation software is based on line of best fit, library based shaping. Again, I have no idea which methodology is better? I think determining the right prescription variables and achieving the desired clinical outcome is probably more important.
  11. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    There is away to do this NWB, SWB or WB with no assistance or maybe one or no hands at all?

    Perspex, it works very well, you need it to be like a shoe fitters stool, the foot at 45 degrees, place the foot in neutral, if thats what you want, wedge the Hallux with a small piece perspex, if that is what you want, then scan from under the perspex.
    You could use glass if you like, but perspex is cheap and safe.
    No finger deletion required.

    Dont over complicate things basically.
  12. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    Would this work for a structured light scanner though? I could see how a laser light scanner scanner would work but not sure if a structured light scanner would work as well due to it having to project a grid/pattern through the perspex onto the foot?
  13. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking of varying ways to adequately scanning the foot within the digital realm... on my lonesome (meaning, there's only me here to do foot positioning & scanning). There are varying ways to do this... with varying costs attached. I've thought about doing something like the above myself i.e. getting a "shoe fitters stool", modifying it... or fabricating something like it myself.

    Did you modify or fabricate your own (shoe fitters stool type scanning platform) Mr Sutton? How is it working out for you? What type of scanner are you using for the above method?
  14. I've been thinking of practical and accurate methods of obtaining three-dimensional images of my patient's feet for the manufacture of custom foot orthoses. I have come up with a concept: let's accurately mold the foot with extra-fast setting plaster so that an actual three-dimensional negative model of the patient's foot is obtained so that the clinician can closely compare the three-dimensional negative cast to three-dimensional shape of the patient's plantar foot. No electronics or electricity are required. No internet connection is required. The casts are actual 3D images of the foot and don't require the clinician to guess what the 3D shape of the foot is by looking at a 2D computer screen. In addition, the 3D casts can be sent to any orthosis lab instead of just a few who use the same electronic technology as proprietary scanners. And the 3D image capturing process can all be done in a few minutes without elaborate equipment. Sound too good to be true. It isn't! I'll call it neutral suspension negative casting! ;-)
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  15. Hehe sounds like a good concept Kevin wonder if it will catch on. Just need a machine that goes bing in the office at the same time of course
  16. It'll never catch on.
  17. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    There are some foot stools out there that are made of just perspex, DrComfort sell one, might be a bit thick?
    Or just buy a piece of perspex and have a fiddle, l have seen it done.

    For me l use an In-foot scanner that scans the foot and ankle 200mm up for custom footwear, not an issue for me, l am just trying to help others.

    Daniel, your not far from me, bring your scanner around, l have a perspex fitting stool and lets find out?

    l suggest you try a few simple ideas, the worst thing you could do is die wondering.
  18. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    I don't think certain Companies have caught on either promoting this sort of rubbish; or have they?

    My mind boggles when I see a scan like this and how it somehow spits out a finished product.

    Attached Files:

  19. Doughorne

    Doughorne Welcome New Poster

    This gents is why I have asked your opinion. More and more companies are trying to sell services to provide orthoses. I currently use the old school method and am looking to poss move to the digital realm, mainly a logistics issue, as patients may not even be in the same country as the production center. I am not talking about something like the above image. Also mobility is an issue
  20. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    If you're looking for a possible digital solution check this company out: http://www.lasercamorthotics.com.au/

    It's completely open-loop and you have unlimited user licenses. Currently the only company I know that's teaching podiatrists decent scanning methodology. You can also work with any type of impression you like. Modelling is very straightforward once you understand how the program works.
  21. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's great Kevin. I'm sure somewhere between 99 - 100% of people on this forum are aware of the "neutral suspension negative casting" method. It has served Podiatry well over the decades, it looks to have served you well... & has served me well in the past also. However, as stated... I'm looking at other alternatives (i.e. the "digital realm")... particularly as technology improves over the years... people invent things... & subsequently current methods may be improved upon... hence my interest in this area... & I feel a valid interest.

    In this day & age we (most clinics) do have "electronics" (computers, iPhones, iPads etc...), "electricity" & an "internet connection" - so no problems there. From what I have seen, the digital capturing of the foot is fast (faster than POP), less cleaning involved... & no postage of casts to a lab. Then there are labs who digitally scan the negative cast or impression (foam) mold when they receive them anyway (to then digitally store - as opposed to storing the physical positive molds, which can take up a heck of space & could contribute to a health hazard i.e. mould on the molds :confused:).

    The issue here is - adequately getting that 3D image of the patient's feet - reflective of the morphology you deem appropriate to address the patient's condition. The other issue I can see is having an adequate software program to modify that scan/image if required (which is a potential positive to me as I like to personally design the orthotic to what I envisioned during the assessment consult). Discussing the potential (& limitations) of such technology/methods is what threads like this are for - to discuss if such technology/methods are adequate for effective orthotic fabrication. Subsequently, this is one of the functions of this Podiatry based website/forum - to discuss between colleagues what works & what doesn't. Whilst I'm not using a digital casting method (although I'm sure my negative molds are digitally scanned at the lab) I think there is a future in this direction in obtaining accurate 3D feet images... & subsequent other benefits i.e. speed/time, potential greater accuracy, lower costs etc...

    There are some issues with the "digital realm" that need to be considered (as you touched on)... but I think these can be addressed (if they haven't already) - hence my inquiry & ongoing interest.
  22. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Daniel that has got to be the worst scan l have seen, imagine the work that would have to go into that to make it work.
    The quality of the scan is important. This is the quality we get straight from our scanner, it saves us so much time.

    Attached Files:

  23. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    100%. The fact that these over-priced closed-loop systems are being sold, and not to mention, dumbing down the profession and orthotic industry astounds me.

    Question, does your scanner allow you to stitch a photographic image onto the STL? Such as VRML 2.0? Would be nice to visualize wound sites and/or areas prone to lesion formation when modelling. Would be also nice to visualise other clinical references such as STJ axis position during the modelling phase to conceptualise how shaping may influence orthosis reaction force.
  24. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    A scanner simply produces an STL file, if you wanted to "stitch' a picture to it that would be an after scan.
    STJ axis position, you can see on the model, markers can be placed after the scan, but we can add a felt stick 1mm round to mark a point of interest on the actual foot prior to scan.

    Attached Files:

  25. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    Not quite. Most scanners will only output an STL file, such as yours, which is basically a geometric shape of the foot. There are other scanners on the market which capture full photographic colour images and stitches it to the 3D mesh, creating a proper photographic scan format called VRML or WRL. This is a really valuable format in orthotic manufacture because measurements and all forms of surface markings can easily be translated throughout the manufacturing process.
  26. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    The felt stickers are used as anatomical markers so that you can identify for example the STJ axis position. But can be used as markers for sites of lesion, or those prone to one.

    There are a few upgrades that can be applied to our scanner for producing Orthotics but we haven't bothered looking into them as we have no need for them at this point. One of these upgrades may allow this 'stitching' ability?

    Do you have one of these scanners that you are referring to so you can post an image that I can see?
  27. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    Yes I do. I use two types of scanners. One is a portable structured light scanner for use in clinic and the other is a laser light scanner so I can scan the inside of casts and/or foam box impressions. Both output VRML 2.0.

    Attached is an example of a NWB 3D photographic scan equivalent to a neutral suspension cast. I use surface markings/reference points (three lowest points at the heel, 1st and 5th MTPJ) that I cross check in CAD in order to calibrate the length of the scan, ascertain correct sagitttal plane translation and frontal plane alignment.

    / Capture.JPG
  28. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Are they both hand held devices?
  29. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member


    My preferred method is NWB capture, but each to their own. The structured light scanner is attached to a tripod so I can position the foot like I would when taking cast. I use a foot pedal to capture the image. The laser light scanner is a bigger unit (similar to an iQube) and I prefer to use this in my laboratory for scanning casts. Having said that, I do have a special custom mounting stand for the unit which enables me to capture NWB scans in the same fashion I would with the structured light scanner.
  30. IMASS Si

    IMASS Si Member

    hi all, an interesting read so far.
    For anyone wishing to see any scanning technologies and their results in the UK, I work for a small and relatively new company based in Plymouth, Devon, called Sole Precision. We offer foam box scanners and/or 3D laser scanners and I would welcome any feedback on the software we use alongside them.
    Attached is a scan of a set of foam boxes. The software also allows the practitioner to design the insoles (if preferred, for total ownership) using an online webCAD as soon as the foam boxes are scanned, which can be useful for patient education during their appointment, if required.
    I have also attached a scan from the 3D laser scanner, which scans one way using a similar laser to capture foot data, but on the way back captures a 2D image, which helps for identifying important landmarks on the foot, if needed.
    Sorry for intruding on the topic, but thought some of you might find it interesting....
    Kind regards,

    Attached Files:

  31. Mike Plank

    Mike Plank Active Member

  32. Ian Drakard

    Ian Drakard Active Member

    Looks suspiciously like a Structure scanner ;)

    Not that that's a bad thing necessarily. Been discussed on here quite a few times
  33. Ian Drakard

    Ian Drakard Active Member

  34. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    So your current scanner doesnt give you the STJ position that you were asking about, does that effect your outcome?
  35. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    The scanner does not derive STJ axis position. I plot the axis position myself and mark it on the foot. I am able to visualise this clinical reference when modelling as I have captured a 3D photographic scan.
  36. Daniel Bagnall

    Daniel Bagnall Active Member

    Does this scanner allow you to hold the foot while you take the scan?

    If someone has figured out a way to do that then it would be good to share.
  37. mr t

    mr t Active Member

    Good discussion so far everyone. I just wanted to weigh in regarding 3D scanning methodology and echo some statements that have already been made on this thread. As a disclaimer, I own Lasercam Orthotics.

    I believe a fundamental that needs to be addressed is the open-loop nature of certain 3D scanners and how they integrate into CAD software. Ideally a scanner should be able to capture a patient’s foot using a variety of different methodologies. They should also output a file format that gives a user flexibility to choose a laboratory or software that gives best clinical outcomes.

    I believe that a main reason that weight-bearing methodologies are advocated strongly is due to the abundance of closed-loop weight bearing systems. After any purchase that limits choice an individual is faced with a certain level of optimism bias that kicks in to protect the ego. We want to feel good about the decisions that we are making (especially financial decisions) and will sometimes irrationally and subconsciously defend those decisions while losing touch with the objective nature of science. I believe it is extremely important that a 3D scanner can capture a foot using different methodologies and utilise different CAD software.

    While I advocate user choice of methodology I also advocate the use of NWB methodology. I commonly see issues when a system can only capture using WB scans. When using proper reference measurement and photographic 3D scans we can create a baseline alignment in CAD that can dictate the initial surface topography of an orthosis. This approach appears less subjective than artificially creating a shape from prescription parameters that use templates. This is because this baseline position is well understood throughout the manufacturing process by orthotic technician and clinician meaning any changes to the orthosis shape are well understood. We can do this with WB scans, however from my experience a user sending a WB scan will more drastically alter prescription parameters to achieve a desired orthotic shape adding a great deal of subjectivity to the manufacturing process.

    I have attached an image of a non-weight bearing scan. You can see there are two angles represented on the image. The top angle is zero degrees, with the line at the top of the scan representing the Perspex plate of a flatbed laser scanner. The laser scanner is mounted on a bracket to allow non-weight bearing capture. The foot is as close as it can be to the scanner without making contact in this example. This decreases the amount of parallax error between the frontal plane and the Perspex plate. The second angle is an example of a frontal plane alignment that has been captured. This would allow for intrinsic lateral wedging defined by foot topography to be machined into an orthosis. This forefoot alignment could be anything, this is simply an example of a frontal plane alignment from a NWB scan. This scan would have very good correlation to a suspension plaster cast of the same foot.

    The image that Daniel posted above might be surprising to some, but this is simply what a weight bearing scan looks like in most cases. I am yet to meet a clinician that agrees that applying plaster then asking the patient to stand is something they would practice clinically – I would guess that most would also agree that they wouldn’t walk away from a foot while the plaster is wet and let it hang in free space. However, this is essentially what WB scanning and handheld scanning are permitting in the profession.

    I believe coming to a consensus on methodology of scanning is imperative to protect our profession. Our graduates will soon be qualifying with less exposure to plaster casting and more exposure to 3D scanning technology. We should not be considering what is easiest, fastest or cheapest as a priority. The primary focus should be what provides the least amount of subjectivity in manufacture and best possible clinical outcomes.

    In conclusion, be careful when looking at closed loop systems as you may find yourself stuck. You should be able to send your scans anywhere if you want to change lab or system.

    Attached Files:

  38. TendonMan

    TendonMan Welcome New Poster

    Glad you asked Daniel!

    I direct the R&D for Kiwi Orthotic Services an orthotic laboratory here in Vancouver, Canada and we just spent the past year developing an app that works with Occipital's Structure Scanner that allows the scanner to run on a timer with either 5 or 10 second scan time (and a 5 second delay) so that the clinician can position and capture a 3D NBW impression of the foot.

    We've been using the Occipital Scanner in 10 of our own clinics over the past 8 months and it has been a nearly seamless transition from either white-light scanning or slipper casts while not compromising the fidelity of our fabrication process. In particular, as Mr T points out, it is important that any impression method a) maintains an appropriate STJ neutral or corrected foot position during the impression, and b) allows for a 360deg evaluation of the foot impression.

    We also felt we should test the accuracy and repeatability of the Occipital Scanner in our timed, and manual, modes with our old ScanPod3D white light scanner, and a $30,000 marine engineering standard blue-light scanner before approaching the podiatry community knowing the high standard you set in the foot orthotic industry.

    Note that while 3D scans taken while using the Kiwi app are a closed loop system, users can always use the native scanning Occipital software for creating a .STL file to send to which lab they choose, so there's relatively little commitment to giving this a try.

    I'd attach a link to our website but apparently I'm still a neophyte user of podiatry arena - let me go make some other comments and I can post some video and images of our system.
  39. Mike Plank

    Mike Plank Active Member


    Not that that's a bad thing necessarily. Been discussed on here quite a few times

    The scanner in question is probably a structure scanner as it is identical to the one on the link from Ian Drakard. These scanners can be picked up cheaply on the internet including ebay. Turning the image into data to form a model to make orthoses from, is where the software comes in (or so I'm told!) The i-Tom-cat software lays a grid over the scanned image as far as I recall. As for positioning the foot the only two ways I can see are the sulcus stick and the glass foot rest as in the video link from Ian. I wonder where you can get one?​
  40. TendonMan

    TendonMan Welcome New Poster

    ...Or you can use your own hands using the Kiwi Orthotic Services App as per the post above.

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