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MoCap for Movement Analysis

An infra-red MoCap camera

In early November 2008 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) picked up a story about the QinetiQ movement analysis laboratories in Farnborough, UK. The laboratories are using an infra-red, 12 camera MoCap system to record the body positions of sports people, both professional and amateur, in order to analyse the movements they make in their performance of their chosen sport and look for any weak points for potential improvement.

This use of MoCap is both novel and refreshing from a general VR perspective. This is because traditionally MoCap is pre-recorded, and inserted into software as sequence animation files for later playback. Since the pivotal (well, one of the pivotal) role of MoCap in VR will be the use of it to analyse body movements in real-time, and translate those to an avatar, this prerecording tendency provides limited use outside of animations for gaming.

QinetiQ 's approach is new. They have the user don an infra red motion capture bodysuit, surround them by 12 cameras in a hexagonal formation with six above them pointing down, and six below them pointing up, then run them through simple callisthenics to calibrate the system. After that, the mocap data is streamed live to an avatar as-is. There is very little specialist hardware involved, barring the cameras themselves. The processing workstation is an ordinary laptop.

It is possible that we are finally looking at a convergence point where motion capture algorithms are powerful enough to be used on high-end home computer software.

BBC i-Player Video

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Seeking the perfect golf stroke

QinetiQ movement analysis laboratories

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