London: Tape measures and scales may soon become a thing of the past, as they would be replaced with a 3D body scanner.
The body volume index (BVI) takes a `photocopy` of a patient`s body in just six seconds.
The seven-foot booth has 16 sensors and 32 cameras and analyses a person`s body fat distribution section by section.
It takes into account weight, height, shape, age, sex and medical history to more accurately measure risk to health.
British company Select Research in Worcester has developed it.
So far they have scanned more than 2,000 men and women during trials.
However, some doctors say the new system is too expensive and a person`s abdominal fat content could be worked out just as effectively with a 50p tape measure.
Despite this, the creators said it would give a far more accurate measurement of a person`s obesity levels compared to the standard body mass index (BMI).
`Most people in the world realise that carrying extra weight around the stomach means that they do have a greater health risk, commonly known in healthcare as central obesity," the Daily Mail quoted Richard Barnes of Select Research as saying.
"What BVI now offers the world is a brand new way of measuring the abdominal area which BMI simply cannot do.
"BMI was never meant to be used as an individual assessment for obesity and we believe that after nearly 200 years, each patient deserves to be measured in a way that takes their own body shape and lifestyle factors into accoun," he said.
A patient walks into the 7ft scanner and is scanned in their underclothes to ensure that the contours of the skin are correctly measured.
The scan is saved on a secure server anonymously to be accessed by authorised doctors.
The whole process takes two to three minutes from start to finish.
Asad Rahim of theHeartlands Hospital said that a three-year trial of 53 patients had shown positive results.
"BVI allows you to calculate body volume in different people and the health risks they may face. We`ve found that the volume of the abdomen is a good indicator of the risk of developing metabolic diseases, he said."