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Calibry 3D scanner streamlines Italy’s cycling aerodynamics for Tokyo Olympics

A Calibry 3D scanner from Russian handheld 3D scanner developer Thor3D has been used by the Italian national cycling team to improve their aerodynamics in preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. 

Cycling brands Pinarello and Hardskin, who are responsible for supplying the national team with bicycles and sportswear, turned to Thor3D’s partner in Italy, 3DiTALY, to digitize the bikes and athletes using 3D scanning. The scans were then used to enhance the aerodynamic efficiency of the Italian athletes in the lead-up to this year’s Olympic Games. 

Calibry 3D scanning

Thor3D first introduced its Calibry 3D scanner at TCT Asia in February 2019; the first offering from the firm to use its own proprietary camera. The handheld scanner was designed to scan historically challenging medium and large objects, such as full-body scans and entire cars. 

With its name drawing influence from a hummingbird due to its reduced weight and size, the scanner is equipped with Thor3D’s proprietary 2.5mp texture camera technology, which is capable of collecting up to three million data points per second. The Calibry has a scanning accuracy of up to 0.1mm, and has an in-built touchscreen for viewing and processing scan data. 

In January 2020, Thor3D announced two new software bundles for its Calibry 3D scanner, revealing partnerships with Californian software developers nPowerSoftware and Pixologic to provide its Calibry 3D scanners alongside the companies’ respective software technologies. 

A few months later, Thor3D launched a mini version of the Calibry scanner specifically designed for the scanning of smaller objects within doctors’ surgeries, schools, and museums. As well as inheriting its big brother’s technical capabilities and weight, the Calibry Mini excels in precision. The scanner’s blue LED technology enables it to achieve an accuracy level of 0.07 mm and a point resolution of 0.15 mm, while featuring an improved depth of view of 180-300 mm. 

Most recently, Thor3D announced the latest version of its scan processing software, Calibry Nest 3.3, which features a whole host of upgrades and new features. The improvements include new device support, faster texturizing times, and a new scan manipulation functionality in order to more comprehensively link Thor3D’s scanners and the user’s personal computer. 

3D scanning an Italian athlete with the Calibry 3D scanner. Photo via Thor3D.
3D scanning an Italian athlete with the Calibry 3D scanner. Photo via Thor3D.

Deploying the Calibry for cycling aerodynamics

In the world of professional cycling, speed is everything, with mere fractions of a second often separating success and failure. With the Tokyo Olympic Games fast approaching, Pinarello and Hardskin came together to find ways of enhancing the aerodynamic efficiency of the Italian cycling team to give them the best possible chance of success.

In February, they approached 3DiTALY to provide digital scans of the athletes and of Pinarello’s bicycles at the Velodrome of Montichiari in the province of Brescia, the only indoor facility in the country dedicated to track cycling. 

3DiTALY used a Calibry 3D scanner to produce scans of the athletes during warm-up and race immitations in order to find the most aerodynamic riding position. The athletes wore bodysuits and helmets to fully simulate the race experience. 

The scans were completed within just two minutes, with the data post-processed in Calibry Nest software before being passed to Pinarello’s engineers for subsequent aerodynamic studies. The scans contained all the necessary information to analyze the athletes’ riding position and design a tailor-made handlebar that perfectly fits the athletes’ arms in order to obtain an optimal symbiosis with the bicycle. The handlebar will then be manufactured by Pinarello and integrated into to bike to increase the athletes’ aerodynamics while riding. 

The Calibry 3D scans were completed within just two minutes and the data then processed in Calibry Nest software. Photo via Thor3D.
The Calibry 3D scans were completed within just two minutes and the data then processed in Calibry Nest software. Photo via Thor3D.

3D printing’s contribution to the Olympics

Multiple Olympians have previously leveraged additive manufacturing for their personalized gear in order to gain time and weight savings, among other benefits. Examples include Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s 3D printed running shoes on display at the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and the latest 3D printed 4DFWD midsole from adidas and 3D printer manufacturer Carbon which will be worn by several athletes at this year’s games in Tokyo.

The sport of cycling in particular has sought to leverage the benefits of 3D printing for Olympic success, with the French Cycling Federation also deploying customized handlebars to yield aerodynamic efficiency gains using 3D printing technology, which were on show on the team’s bikes during the Rio 2016 games.

Similarly, global engineering firm Renishaw is looking to bolster the chances of the Great Britain Cycling Team ahead of Tokyo 2020 with the design of a new track bike. The firm partnered with Lotus engineering and bicycle engineering company Hope Technology to design the bike with 3D printed parts to help deliver improved track performance with lightweight parts and an innovative design.

And it’s not just athletes that are turning to 3D printing ahead of the Olympics, with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) asking Proctor & Gamble to 3D print 98 reusable podiums for the games’ award ceremonies. The podiums are printed using recycled plastic from over 2,000 locations in Japan, and will feature an Olympic logo made from repurposed aluminum.

The scans will be used to design a tailor-made handlebar that perfectly fits the athletes’ arms to improve aerodynamic efficiencies. Photo via Thor3D.
The scans will be used to design a tailor-made handlebar that perfectly fits the athletes’ arms to improve aerodynamic efficiencies. Photo via Thor3D.

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Featured image shows 3D scanning an Italian athlete with the Calibry 3D scanner. Photo via Thor3D.



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