Validation of a novel Kinect-based device for 3D scanning of the foot plantar surface in weight-bearing

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Background: Advancements in additive manufacturing, along with new 3D scanning tools, are increasingly fulfilling the technological need for custom devices in personalized medicine. In podiatry and in the footwear industry, custom orthotic and footwear solutions are often required to address foot pathologies or morphological alterations which cannot be managed with standard devices. While laser scanners are the current gold-standard for 3D digitization of the foot shape, their costs limit their applications and diffusion, therefore traditional operator-dependent casting methods are still in use. The aim of this study was to design and validate a novel 3D foot scanner based on the Microsoft Kinect sensor, allowing a 3D scan of the plantar shape of the foot to be acquired in weight-bearing. Methods: The accuracy and repeatability of the prototypal foot scanner were investigated in a population of 14 asymptomatic healthy subjects, with no history of foot or lower limb injuries. The accuracy was estimated by comparing the Kinect foot scans with those obtained with a high-resolution laser scanner used as reference. The repeatability was assessed by comparing scans of the same foot acquired in different sessions. Results: The inter-subject average Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of the Kinect scans was lower than 3 mm for the whole plantar surface, and lower than 1.6 mm for the arch region alone, both in left and right feet. The repeatability, quantified as the average RMSE of pairwise comparisons between sessions, was 1.2 ± 0.4 mm. Conclusions: The present Kinect-based 3D foot scanner showed optimal intra-operator repeatability and its accuracy appears adequate to obtain 3D scans of the foot plantar surface suitable for different clinical applications. This device could represent a valid low-cost alternative to expensive laser-based scanners and could be used for automatic foot measurements, supporting the design of custom insoles and footwear.

Original languageEnglish
Article number46
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2 2019


  • 3D scanner
  • Custom insoles
  • Foot plantar surface
  • Kinect
  • Medial longitudinal arch
  • Weight-bearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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