Single-camera Technology Expands Motion Capture Market
Single-camera Technology Expands Motion Capture Market

Motion capture technology has opened new doors for digital animation, virtual reality, and the life sciences. With it, animators can create high-quality movies and games in minimal time. Researchers, doctors, and therapists can prevent and treat injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.

Leading motion capture system companies continue to roll out product launches promising ease of use and improved accuracy. But, their ultimate limitations are in the need for multiple cameras to capture 3D, significant dedicated space, and often time-consuming hand correction of data.   

A team of Wisconsin-based engineers has developed a revolutionary system for 3D motion capture, where highly-engineered wire-free markers communicate position and orientation to a single camera. The unique moiré phase tracking (MPT) system is compact enough to be stored in a closet and so easy to use it can be taken out and set up moments before data is captured, no matter the location.   

How it works 

MPT Series 2 uses a single camera working in cooperation with specialized MPT motion-tracking markers. The MPT motion-tracking markers generate intricate optical patterns that change in appearance with even the slightest marker rotation. The markers have unique identification numbers, so they can be tracked individually and reliably, without any hand-correction of the data.   

Each marker provides measurement data for position (X, Y, and Z) at an accuracy better than 1.0 mm and orientation (Pitch, Yaw, and Roll) at an industry-leading accuracy of better than 0.05 degrees. MPT has angular accuracy up to 30 times better than comparable multi-camera systems.   

Once the marker is placed in the environment in which motion is being tracked — from as large as a human–scale motion tracking volume to as small as within an MRI machine — the camera will automatically recognize and track all markers, providing uninterrupted and extremely accurate results. Up to 256 markers can be placed and identified for tracking in a single scene.   

Freeing motion capture from a confined lab space and eliminating the need for bothersome hand-correction of the data creates multiple opportunities to expand the market and measure motion in ways not previously feasible.   

Where it works 

The largest market for 3D motion capture is entertainment — animated films and games — which is expected to reach a value of $60 million by 2020, according to a forecast from MarketsandMarkets. In animation, characters have to be rigged for anticipated motions. With a multi-camera set up and limited time in the studio with professional actors, it is difficult to thoroughly test the rig, or anticipate the exact motion prior to the day of shooting.   

A portable, single-camera system with automatically-identified markers can drastically decrease production time by providing animators with the ability to capture, evaluate, and refine movements so that rigged characters are ready for performance capture the first time.   

Using motion capture to correct motion holds promise for improved clinical outcomes in medical technology, biomechanics, and even surgical navigation. Metria’s MPT systems are currently being used in the following commercial and research applications. 

Motion tracking during MRI brain scans 

MPT technology used with markers can rapidly track movements in a high magnetic field environment, providing patient motion data during MRI scans. Investigators at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital are using MPT to connect specific movement to map brain activity in connection with ACL injuries. Read More Here

Instrumented assessments in physical therapy 

Today in physical therapy, gait — or walking — is assessed observationally. Assessments vary widely based on the day and the clinician, with a heavy influence on treatment planning and decisions. In order for a clinic to be able to use instrumented gait assessment, the technology must be exceptionally easy to use so it can be utilized within the scheduled session, and have the ability to report the assessment in a way that is meaningful to the clinician and the patient. With National Institutes of Health funding and based on the remarkable ease-of-use of the MPT system, Metria is developing a specialized system for physical therapy.

The human body is complex, making studying its movement a process that requires precise measurements. Through its single-camera operation, automatically-identified wire-free markers, industry leading accuracy, and factory calibration, MPT technology provides game-changing ease of use and portability to motion measurement.

 Explore Applications 

3D Animation

Industrial Ergonomics
  Sports Bio Mechanics
  Medical Technology

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