Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, May 01, 2009

A first step in recording TIVR? - Second Skin Captures Motion

Blogger's note: Total Immersion Virtual Reality is one day going to blow people's minds, perhaps literally for some early adopters. Any development that may bring that technology closer to fruition is very exciting.

Technology Review - April 29, 2009, by Kristina Grifantini

A new system could make special effects more affordable.

Researchers at MIT have developed a new system that may provide a cheaper and more efficient way to track motion. The system, called Second Skin, could be a cheaper alternative for creating special effects for movies. The researchers say that they hope it will also be used to help people monitor their own motions so that they can practice physical therapy or perfect their tai chi moves.

Traditional tracking systems involve high-speed cameras placed around a specially lit set. The subject being tracked wears special markers that reflect light emitted by the cameras. The cameras capture and record the reflected light several times a second, to track the subject's motion. When the system is used to make movies, software programs and a team of animators convert the data into an animated character. These motion-tracking systems can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Alternative systems that use magnets, accelerometers, or exoskeletons are, respectively, in need of even more extensive set up and calibration, error prone, or bulky and inflexible.

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