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Date 23.09.2015
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Allan Chan Chee Kooi

NEW TOOL FOR FASHION: Robotic Mannequin, i.Dummy®

Dr. Chan Chee Kooi, Institute of Textiles & Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The fashion industry relies a lot on the mannequin (aka dummy, body form, model form, etc.) for much of our design and fitting work. With the invention of a revolutionary robotic mannequin branded as i.Dummy®, the landscape of these works will change the way we do things. i.Dummy® is able to change its size, proportion and dimension to accommodate a variety of different body configuration making it an ideal tool for customized fashion design and garment size fitting. Brands now can determine their best fit for their target customers’ profiles without the use of multiple mannequins.

The background of conceiving and actualizing i.Dummy® has gone through a thorough process of research that covers anthropometric studies and size chart data from a number of countries, morphological changes in body growth and sizes difference resulting in panel design and finally the mechatronics design for the robotic mannequin. The complete architecture consists of the mannequin (hardware), graphical interface system (software) and accessories. All of these have gone into producing an entity that can mimic the physical profile of a person which makes it ideal for the assessing body fit of clothes and direct design on it for high fashion.

Firstly as a tool for fashion design, the designer can change the i.Dummy® to the required body configuration to mimic that of a person (client). This step is call “physical profiling”. As the change is three-dimensional, various measurements like girths, widths and lengths will be catered for. Once these body measurements are taken from the person, they are input into the i.Dummy® graphical interface system and saved as a case. It can be recalled at anytime or when changes have to be updated based on the physical changes of the person over time. This is especially suitable for performing high fashion or haute couture where the demand for well fitting with excellent workmanship and rich materials are required. Once the body profiling is done, a cladding is put on the mannequin and the normal process of draping/modeling is performed.

Next as a tool for garment size fitting, the designer or technical personnel of a particular brand can determine the range of sizes and measurements of their targeted customers. Example is a range of sizes such as UK Sizes 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, etc. These body sizes and their measurements are input into the i.Dummy® graphical interface system and saved. When a particular size is called for fitting, the size is retrieved from the system, and the i.Dummy® will change to the required size’s shape proportion and dimensions where the garment in question can be fitting on and assessed. This process is very good as an alternative to live models.

i.Dummy® is a sustainable tool for fashion industry as its profile can be changed over time in accordance with the anthropometric changes in a population. With its customization ability, slight changes can be made to different part of the body as required, e.g. a bigger bottom, a fuller abdomen or a smaller bust size, etc. It will be an indispensable tool for fashion design teaching and learning as it can be presented three-dimensionally for better understanding. Currently, a university in Japan and Hong Kong are using it in their curriculum.


Allan Chan Chee KooiDr. Allan Chan Chee Kooi is presently the Associate Head and Associate Professor at the Institute of Textiles & Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic, earned his Associateship of the Clothing and Footwear Institute by examination and completed his PhD study from the University of Leeds in 1990.

He has worked in the garment industry before working as an educator for the last 30 years. Besides teaching, he is active in research and consultancy work for the industry. In research, his most prominent outcome is the robotic mannequin, i.Dummy® which has won him a good number of international awards. It has been successfully licensed for commercial manufacturing and sales.

Grand Award, Design for Asia Award, Hong Kong Design Centre, Dec 2014.
Silver Award, Industrial Product Category, Design for Asia Award, Hong Kong Design Centre, Dec 2014.
Gold Award, A’ Design Award, Industrial Product Design, Italy, March 2015.
Gold Award with Congratulation from the Jury, Geneva Inventions April 2015.
Grand Award – the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Prize at Geneva Inventions April 2015.