The top conferences biomechanics specialists need to attend in 2022

The pandemic saw the world take every kind of event you can imagine online - from conferences and business meetings to birthdays and all kinds of other celebrations. While there’s no doubt that virtual events are here to stay, as the pandemic situation improves people are slowly starting to get comfortable with the idea of attending in-person events again. And we’re here for it. 

At the end of 2021, we had the opportunity to attend Develop:Brighton, an annual conference held for the gaming community, where we got the chance to learn, network and interact with an incredible group of international animators. 

We enjoyed the experience so much that it inspired us to put together a list of all of the top conferences we think are worth taking note of this year, and this time specifically focused on the biomechanics and movement analysis industry. If you’re keen to get out again and interact with other scientific and creative minds, here’s a list of some of the top conferences to diarize this year.

International Symposium on 3D Analysis of Human Movement
When: May 16th - 19th
Where: Tokyo, Japan

In 2022, the International Symposium of 3D Analysis of Human Movement (3D-AHM 2022) will be hybrid, with the face-to-face symposium taking place in Tokyo also streamed online. Tokyo is home to diverse cultures and histories and is an intersection of rich traditions and world-leading technologies, making it the perfect location for this event. Some topics of interest include fusion of motion capture methods, effects of environment on motion analysis methods and 3D analysis of human movement. For us, this event is of particular interest because Motion Analysis has been involved in this event since its inception. We are on the event committee as an industry representative and we’re also one of the event sponsors.

ACSM 2022
When: May 31st - June 4th
Where: San Diego, USA

After two years away, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting and World Congresses on Exercise is Medicine® and Basic Science of Exercise and Vascular Health will be hosted both on-site and online in 2022. These events showcase the latest in exercise science and sports medicine, with so many opportunities for attendees to learn from leading scientists both inside and outside of the exercise field. As part of our efforts to promote biomechanics research in the sports medicine community, we are sponsoring the Career Award at ACSM 2022.

ISEK Congress
When: June 22nd - June 25th
Where: Quebec City, Canada

The International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology (ISEK) is a multidisciplinary organization comprising members from health-related fields such as biomedical sciences, engineering, physical education, and physical therapy, among others. At ISEK 2022, members from all of these different fields will get the chance to further their understanding of human movement by collaborating with people who have different perspectives, but who have a common goal of increasing our shared understanding of human movement. ​ At the event, attendees will get the chance to attend workshops, listen to keynote addresses from international speakers and learn via presentations from ISEK members. This is one not to be missed.  

ISBS Annual Conference
When: July 19th - 23rd
Where: Liverpool, England

Now in its 40th year, the annual International Society of Biomechanics in Sports (ISBS) conference brings together some of the industry’s most prolific researchers to deliver keynote discussions on a wide range of topics. At this year’s event, a keynote slot was offered to the researcher who won the ISBS’ Hans Gros Emerging Researcher Award. Want to hear from the person who scooped up this accolade? Sign up for this one, today.

ACRM Annual Conference
When: November 8th - 11th
Where: Chicago, USA

In 2022, you can attend the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) conference from anywhere in the world - from your office, from the comfort of your own home, or you can choose to attend in person, in Chicago. Hosted by the ACRM, the annual conference is the world’s largest interdisciplinary rehabilitation research conference and is certainly the place to be for anyone interested in understanding the science behind rehabilitation.

ISB Congress
When: August 2023
Where: Fukuoka, Japan

We are so excited for this event, that we’re mentioning it a whole year early. In 2023, the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) is turning 50 and they’re hosting a big event to celebrate. Not only is the ISB the largest society in Biomechanics, but it is also the oldest. At the event, the society will pay homage to 50 years of education, dedication, inspiration and innovation and they also want to look ahead and unpack how they will continue contributing to this field in years to come.

Will you be attending any of these conferences in 2022? Or are there any other events that you think we should add to the list? Let us know via LinkedIn or Twitter.

Creativity on show - top animation, gaming, graphics, and film conferences to attend in 2022

It has been two very long years since a lot of folks last attended an in-person conference and, quite frankly, we’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed that 2022 will be different. While some conferences will still be held online, other organizers hope to get the chance to bring the best minds in the animation, film, gaming and graphics industries together to network, learn, share their experiences and collaborate.

Here are a few of the festivals and conferences taking place this year that we think are worth attending (whether in person or online):

Tricky Women/Tricky Realities 2022
When: March 9th - 13th
Where: Vienna, Austria

Tricky Women/Tricky Realities is typically held around International Women’s Day, which is fitting because the event focuses on animated films made by women. This year, the festival will take place in a hybrid form, with film programs, lectures, and artist talks presented in the cinema, as well as online. As part of the event, there is an international competition with prizes worth €21 000 up for grabs.

Game Developers Conference (GDC)
When: March 21st - 25th
Where: San Francisco, USA 

After two years of being hosted exclusively online, GDC is hoping to drag us away from our computers by returning to its regular format and schedule in 2022. GDC celebrates every aspect of game development, bringing the global game development community together to share ideas, solve problems, and shape the future of the industry. At the GDC Expo, attendees can discover disruptive technologies and novel development tools, like BaSix

We’ll be hosting a booth at GDC this year so be sure to come say “hi” if you’re attending! Keep an eye out on LinkedIn or Twitter for more from us on the conference.

NAB Show
When: April 23rd - 27th
Where: Las Vegas, USA

Described as an event where content comes to life, NAB Show is back this year after the event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021. In April, content creators, streamers, and podcasters will assemble in Las Vegas to learn, network, and find out what they need to do to entertain modern audiences. With more than 90,000 media professionals expected to attend, the opportunities to discover new technologies, gain knowledge, and make new connections are endless at NAB Show. 

Annecy
When: June 13th - 18th
Where: Annecy, France 

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival has been around since the 1960s and, every year, this event seeks to inspire the world of animation by highlighting the industry’s creative talent and showcasing the richness this sector has to offer. From exclusive sessions showcasing the latest animated works to presentations of current and future trends. One highlight of the festival is the Mifa market, which serves as a professional meeting place and learning space for everyone and anyone working in the animation industry.

Develop:Brighton
When: July 12th - 14th
Where: Brighton, England

Develop:Brighton has been running since 2006 and it is the only event in the UK that brings the entire game-making industry together. In 2022, the event will look at some “hot topics” in the industry like monetization, funding, ethical working practices, and the Metaverse. The conference will also offer deep-dives into successful games and studios, case studies, as well as practical, vocational content so that attendees have the chance to “skill-up”.

We attended Develop:Brighton in 2021, where we got the opportunity to interact with developers and animators and find out what they thought of our BaSix system. Read this blog post to find out more about our experience. 

SIGGRAPH 2022
When: August 8th -11th
Where: Vancouver, Canada

SIGGRAPH 2022 is a premier computer graphics and interactive techniques conference. This year, the event will take place in person in Vancouver but it will also be streamed virtually. The event content, which includes both invited or submitted work, is selected by industry experts who aim to bring together a diverse, global community of innovators to showcase the latest and greatest technologies and applications. 

International Broadcast Conference (IBC)
When: September 9th - 12th
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands

We’ve attended this event for a few years, and it’s one you don’t want to miss. A media, entertainment and technology show, the conference demonstrates the most state-of-the-art media technology and provides great networking opportunities for media professionals involved in content creation, management, and delivery.

SIGGRAPH ASIA
When: December 6th - 9th
Where: Daegu, Korea

This annual event rotates around the Asian region and attracts some of the most respected technical and creative talent from across the globe with a passion for research, science, art, animation, gaming, interactivity, education, and emerging technologies. Attendees are invited to submit their best works and creative innovations to be featured as part of the event’s various conference programs.

Will you be attending any of these conferences in 2022? Any others you think we should add to the list? Let us know via LinkedIn or Twitter.

The student sets his sights on becoming the mocap master - introducing Motion Analysis’ new recruit, Shane Maher

Shane Maher may technically be the new kid on the Motion Analysis block but he’s certainly no stranger to our technology. While completing his Master’s Degree program in Kinesiology, he utilized mocap to collect critical data. His research looked at load carriage among law enforcement agents to better understand how they carry their equipment.

Now taking up a role as a customer support engineer, Shane has a real passion for what we do. And he wants to use this passion to bring film, video game and digital characters to life or to help researchers use mocap technology to conduct scientific research. “Using motion capture and data analysis was a highlight of my graduate program,” he says. And he wants to make sure that Motion Analysis customers have a similar experience.

“My favorite part of this position is going to be lending a helping hand to those looking to create substantial contributions to both the science and art fields,” he explains, noting that he is excited to get the opportunity to expand his knowledge about all things motion capture. “Being new to Motion Analysis, I’m gaining more understanding of all the customers’ requirements and how we can help our clients with their problems.”

Aside from doing installs, Shane will be using this knowledge to respond to service calls, answer client questions and concerns, and train people to use Motion Analysis products. 

Ask him what the most important aspect of his job is and he responds that it’s all about helping clients to better understand mocap systems so that they can create projects that will change the world. While some people strive towards titles and physical accolades, Shane believes that being successful is something that comes from within. 

“For me, being successful is knowing that my help created a valuable solution. A big motivator that helps me come into work daily is the fact that my help contributed to cool and progressive projects that will shape the future of both the sciences and the arts.” And he’s already set his sights on moving up the ladder at Motion Analysis as he learns more and about the company and our customers. 

When Shane isn’t working, you’ll find him enjoying the outdoors or playing ice hockey, baseball/softball or golf.

Our experience at the Develop:Brighton Conference

In Q4 2021, we had the privilege of attending an in-person conference again, and the opportunity to interact with an incredible group of animators. 

Develop:Brighton is an annual conference held for the gaming community that provides networking opportunities, a chance to learn from other developers in the industry, and insights into the latest trends in animation and gaming. The Covid-19 pandemic meant that the conference couldn’t happen in 2020, so we were delighted when we were given the opportunity to set up a face-to-face Motion Analysis exhibit at the conference. Naturally, we chose to showcase our latest brainchild - our suitless motion capture system, BaSix. 

The BaSix system pairs perfectly with the gaming industry as it has been specifically designed with animation studios, game developers, and previsualization in mind. Because it only requires the use of six active markers, and no suit, BaSix allows for an efficient setup to create high-quality 3D characters quickly and easily.

The conference provided the perfect platform for us to get feedback from developers and animators on what they thought about the BaSix system. We were delighted to hear that our research into a suitless system hit the mark in the industry and that many animators wanted to create their animation in-house, which is exactly what our lightweight mocap system allows them to do. 

Naturally, performance capture studios still play a big role in the animation industry - and we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some incredible studios who utilize our software -  but not everyone can afford to hire out a large studio. We wanted to cater to those animators in the development of this product, by creating a system that allowed smaller animation studios to create motion capture themselves, rather than buying stock of motion capture data. For studios who are happy to use a lightweight option, and need the animation created quickly, purchasing the entire system of BaSix costs the same as buying only 8 hours worth of mocap data. 

And this better investment decision is exactly what the Develop:Brighton conference enabled us to communicate and explain. If you weren't able to make it to the conference, but want to know whether the BaSix system is for you, we’ve created this helpful infographic to help you choose between BaSix and a traditional motion capture system.

 

 

 

How Steve Soltis measures success after 20 years in mocap

He may be a new face in the Motion Analysis family, but Steve Soltis is certainly not new to the world of motion capture. Our latest US Sales Manager has spent over 20 years working in the industry, and shares a common passion with our company: a love for the customers. 

“It’s always really exciting, and such a learning experience, to work with customers who are experts in their field. One of the things I am really looking forward to in my new position at Motion Analysis is getting to help our customers advance the research and applications they are wanting to pursue by matching them with the most accurate and economical mocap solutions. Every day and every customer brings a unique set of circumstances and challenges to the table. I enjoy using the years of experience I have in motion capture to help tackle these challenges, while still being inspired by the exciting work the customers are doing in the process.”

But the customers are not the only thing that drew Steve into this industry, or into the Motion Analysis world.

“Motion Analysis is a leader in the industry. I previously worked as a distributor for them so I have been able to experience their knowledge and professionalism firsthand, and let me tell you, it's impressive. I consider myself very fortunate to work in such a respected company. A big part of why I love working in this industry so much is the opportunity we get to help verify and prove what is otherwise only speculated or theorized. The world of motion capture is constantly changing and improving, and I get to work at the forefront of proving to customers what our solutions can do.”

As is probably obvious, Steve is a problem-solver. He doesn’t just want to sell systems, but wants to present our customers with solutions. This is very in line with the values of Motion Analysis as a company - that we offer our customers more than just a product - and is why it’s so important for us to hire those who share our same values. So, what is Steve’s measure of success in his work? 

“I don’t see success as a finish line, but rather as a goal post that is constantly moving. I believe that in order to be successful you also need to keep moving towards that goal post. The moment you stop moving forward is the moment you stop being successful. With an eye on the past, strive to think outside the box to pioneer new applications and solutions to further technology and research.”

3 places you may not expect to use our mocap software

When you think of mocap software and hardware you may just think of a green screen or a laboratory, or a bunch of cameras. But the process is a lot more exciting than that. Our software has experienced a trampoline, a ballet studio, the hills of Mount Doom, an ice rink, and more. 

Over the years we’ve had the privilege of servicing clients who are using our mocap software to produce cutting-edge research for a range of different industries. Here are some of our favorite projects our mocap tech has been used for, and the unexpected places it’s been used in:

1. In the police force

Dr Franky Mulloy, from the University of Lincoln, used our software to prevent injuries in the police force. He and his team found that because of body armor and tactical vests, the police have a high prevalence of neck (76% of nearly 400 police surveyed) and upper back problems (84%). 

As a result of these findings, he was motivated to partner with a global tactical vest manufacturer that equips the majority of the UK police forces. Using Motion Analysis software, he identified what changes needed to be made to the tactical vests so they’d better coordinate with the torso and head to reduce neck and back strain in dynamic activities. 

Read the full case study here

Did you know? Our Cortex system enables users to track multiple subjects, including an entire squad if needed and the low-latency streaming of our systems means that the experience of motion sickness in subjects can be largely reduced. As a result, it’s a great solution for applications such as military training in immersive, real-time 3D virtual reality environments.

2. In a wind tunnel

Chiara Ercolani, a Ph.D. student at the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory (DISAL) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, along with her team, recently explored how a micro aerial vehicle (drone) could be used to detect gas leaks.

In order to conduct this experiment, an electric pump was set up in a wind tunnel facility with laminarized wind flow of adjustable speed, to create a gas plume. The team then utilized two localization strategies - an Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) localization system with 8 beacons and our Motion Capture System (MCS) with 13 cameras - to determine what effect each of the following localization methods would have on the outcome of the gas source localization. They examined sensor location as well as performance under various conditions.

The outcome was that the motion capture system offered better performance under all tested environmental conditions, making the drone faster and more efficient. 

Read the full case study here

Did you know? Our motion capture cameras offer compact design, high accuracy, and robust performance. Our camera models are all “plug and play,” field upgradeable, and compatible with our other cameras.

3. In an equestrian center

Centorid, a performance capture and virtual production studio, are one of the early adopters of Motion Analysis systems and have an impressive portfolio of work which includes Assassin’s Creed; Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare; Need for Speed Payback; Dr Strange; Pacific Rim Uprising; Beauty and the Beast; Game of Thrones (Seasons 6 and 7); Hulk VR Experience; and Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR.

By using our camera system, they have the option to shoot on set or outside in natural environments - including in an equestrian center! This is due to the flexibility of our camera configurations allowing our clients to work on complex shoots in a variety of environments. 

Read the full case study here

Did you know? Cortex mocap software enables a significantly larger amount of animation data to be produced compared to traditional animation techniques, reducing overall production costs and post-production time.

Want to find out how Cortex could benefit your research or production? Contact us for a demo today.

Real-time streaming mode vs post-process analysis mode: which is better for mocap?

When considering which motion capture system to purchase, it's of vital importance that you know exactly what data you’re going to be capturing and when you need to view it. 

For example, if you are planning to track robots or drones to confirm they are moving as their algorithm intended,or you’re wanting to provide an athlete in rehabilitation with instant feedback, you’ll need to be recording and viewing your data in real-time mode. The term “real-time” indicates that the motion capture system is translating the motion it’s capturing, as it’s happening, directly into the system for you to see. 

But if you’re picking out events for time-normalizing over recurring cycles to compare to other subjects; or exporting in a selection of formats to analyze in other software packages, you’ll be able to record data and look at it afterward using post-processing mode.

Let’s have a look at some of the features offered by each mode of analysis, and some of the factors you should consider when deciding what mode you’ll need to evaluate your data:

Features of real-time streaming

  1. Real-time 2D and 3D viewing
  2. Real-time labeled marker data
  3. Real-time segment data (both kinematic and kinetic)
  4. Streaming to third-party software

Features of post-process analysis

  1. Auto-labeled marker data for rapid analysis
  2. Synchronized force plate analog data and reference video
  3. Powerful data clean up and segmental modeling tools
  4. Export data to third-party software in various formats

Factors to consider when deciding between post-process analysis and real-time streaming: 

Questions to ask include:

There’s a whole lot more where that came from.

We’ve developed an entire Buyers Guide for Motion Capture where we talk about the various types of systems and how they differ; the questions you should be asking vendors; and the most important features you should consider when buying a new mocap system. 

Download our Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for Purchasing Motion Capture Software here.

4 ways motion capture software is changing the world of sport

When you think of motion capture, you might think about memorable movie performances of Ray Winstone as Beowulf in Beowulf, Benedict Cumberbatch in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, or Andy Serkis as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. 

But despite the fascinating history behind motion capture in the film and animation industry, it’s use also extends into the world of biomechanics, where it can be used in a variety of fields, including sports performance, coaching, and rehabilitation. 

From tracking players’ locations, movements, equipment and more, let’s look at four ways motion capture technology can be used to positively impact the increasingly data-driven industry of sports:

1. Improving an athlete’s performance

Motion capture software for sport allows a coach to identify any issues that may be preventing a player from giving their best performance, by either analyzing them in real-time or using a playback feature. By analyzing the performance in 3D, as opposed to 2D (with the naked eye), the tech is able to pick up on all angles of motion from the player, and then collate that data into highly accurate and easy-to-understand reports. 

In the game of golf, for example - which was an early adopter of mocap - having the correct form is vital to get the best swing and successful results. Motion capture software is able to capture and feedback information relating to the stance, angle, rotation, and positioning that goes into a swing - giving the player important and specific data to learn from.

2. Preventing injuries

Any rehabilitation professional will tell you that range of motions (ROM) is an important indicator of the strength, elasticity, and function of an athlete's movement. Motion capture software for sport enables physiotherapists to analyze the kinematics of a particular movement, such as the rotation of a hip or the inversion/eversion of an ankle, and identify if any of the ROM limitations are linked to pain or injury in the athlete. Using the data generated, physiotherapists can then identify any areas where re-injury could be possible, determine how long recovery time would be, and give evidence-based recommendations for rehabilitation.

Franky Mulloy, from the University of Lincoln, completed a 7-month longitudinal study focusing on core ballet skills with dancers. He used biofeedback from his mocap software to reduce injury risk in leap landing and enhance skill development in jumps and single leg balances. Similarly, physicians from the Rush University Medical Centre used infrared cameras and wearable sensors to measure, in detail, the movement of ballet dancers. The data they uncovered can be used to inform the dancers’ doctors in an attempt to help and prevent future injuries.  

3. Creating better team strategies

3D motion capture software for sport is not only able to track a single athlete, but can track the movements of an entire team. The data from this tracking can be used by coaches to strategize the best possible plays for the team. 

How is this accomplished? Positional data, through the use of GPS, enables coaches to track a range of factors in a players performance - from jumps and direction changes, to accelerations and decelerations. For example, a coach can track the running intensities of various players in different intervals to identify when a player is tiring. This enables them to make strategic real-time decisions during a game. 

4. Altering the way we interact with sports

Imagine sports presenters being able to analyze holographic replicas of world-famous soccer stars in 360 degree angles instead of just relying on a 2D video - that’s what motion capture technology can do. By using optical tracking, mocap footage that has tracked player’s movements is able to then recreate those players into holographs that can be used by presenters in a broadcast setting, to fully immerse the viewer into the analysis. 

Collect precise movement analysis data faster with Cortex

Cortex motion capture software is trusted by leading researchers, educators, coaches, and physical therapists around the world. It enables users to capture and track the subtle movements of sports equipment, individuals, and entire teams, improving and extending the limits of athletic performance.

Book a demo of our Cortex motion capture software today.

Let’s talk about third-party system integration for biomechanics and animation

Integration of motion analysis systems with third-party systems means different things for the biomechanics industry and the animation industry, so we chatted with Phillip Hagerman, our Vice President of Operations, to give you the lowdown on both types of our third-party kits:

Q: What is the difference between the system integrations needed for biomechanics and for the animation industry?

Third-party hardware is mostly integrated for the biomechanics side of the business - we find these companies or research institutes are needing integrations for things such as:

But the animation developers and producers want to integrate with software engines, such as: 

Q: How often are these system integrations updated? 

We get frequent requests for new hardware integrations as various biomechanics researchers begin work on new, cutting-edge projects. Because of this, the hardware integrations that are needed tend to change drastically over time and updating this on our systems is very dependent on what's needed and how many people are needing it. 

Software, on the other hand, is a more anticipated process because we already have a plugin, and as new versions of software come out, we simply develop for that version. There may even be instances when a gaming software is very “release-heavy”; in other words, they release an update every two months. In these cases, we may skip an update if there is not a great customer-demand or only develop for a specific version when our users start requesting it. But generally, the software integrations need to be maintained pretty frequently in order to ensure we stay up to date with the newest releases. 

Q: Can both Cortex and BaSix integrate with third-party hardware and software?

Our goal with BaSix was to keep the User Interface (UI) and customer experience very simple and efficient so that training on the system could be done timeously. This means that it is more limited with third-party integrations, but it is still compatible with all major animation packages, including: 

As far as Cortex is concerned, the third-party software plugins are not built into the Cortex software - they exist as their own entity, so they need to be individually installed for animation purposes. The third-party hardware, however, is physically integrated into Cortex in order for Cortex to be able to communicate directly with the hardware. This communication pack allows us to develop with various versions of hardware as new hardware is released. 

Q: What is the most beneficial third-party integration for both hardware and software?

When it comes to our third-party hardware, a big benefit for the user is the ability to do digital integration. This has streamlined a lot of the setup within the software. Take force platforms for example: we would usually have a calibration matrix that goes into play with the analog side of integration, which then requires increased configuration because of the raw data we are receiving from the amplifier. With streamlined digital integration, however, the force calculations are being done on the amplifier and we get the final product - the processed data. This saves us steps in the process of acquiring that data, which essentially saves on costs. 

Similarly, the software side is also pretty streamlined because, as mentioned earlier, we have a plugin we develop which gets updated for each new version, allowing us to stream data directly.

Get your hands on the latest system integration for your Motion Analysis tech

For our current customer, if you’re already on a maintenance plan with Motion Analysis, then don’t worry, your plan will automatically update your system. However, if you’re not, you would need to purchase a maintenance plan in order to reap the benefits of third-party integration updates. 

Not using a Motion Analysis system yet but wish you were? We’d love to chat with you. 

Book a demo with us today!

Meet one of the biggest brains behind our mocap dev

For Ned Phipps, a seemingly impossible problem is the best kind to solve. Many would feel overwhelmed when facing this sort of task, but this is where Ned thrives. Ned is one of four brilliant Motion Analysis engineers who developed the award-winning motion capture process, named the Eagle Digital System, which was responsible for bringing Lord of the Rings character, Gollum, in the scene on Mount Doom, to life. It was later also used for the facial animation of King Kong, in King Kong, and all the robot motion in iRobot.

When he is not experimenting creatively with algorithms and techniques, as the Motion Analysis Senior Software Engineer in Rohnert Park California, he can be found playing the violin in his local orchestra; doing Tai Chi in the park; or sailing a 31-foot sloop on San Francisco Bay. Whatever his secret is to a calm mindset, it seems to be working, because he has been successfully helping Motion Analysis tackle seemingly unsolvable software issues for over two decades and even took home an Academy Award in the process!

“I’ve been a primary developer of our motion tracking software since 1997. My background with math, physics, and programming was a perfect match for the job. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to assess and improve every aspect of our systems, primarily working on the host machine and core software, but also developing the camera software, reworking the camera FPGA hardware, and writing the first two versions of our SDK.” 

Motion Analysis has always encouraged their software engineers to be self-starting. Having this attitude towards his job has worked well for Ned, since his job role rarely involves working on assigned tasks, and mostly revolves around being presented with problems and then brainstorming solutions for those problems. But having opportunities to fix or improve complex systems is what Ned loves so much about the industry and has led to him playing a key part in many software successes. 

“The number one success story would have to be making motion capture real-time. Our video boards had a ‘test’ mode that was able to be transformed into a continuous data stream. The tracking process was turned into a set of threads that hand off data and the tracking process speed was improved sufficiently to keep up with the data stream.”

So how does Ned approach issues that seem unsolvable? It takes a whole lot of patience, the eagerness to try, try, and try again and, of course, a passion for what he does. This attitude is clear to see in the immense contribution he has made to Motion Analysis in the time that he has been with us. 

“The general speeding up of triangulating markers was another success that happened over many years. I had predicted a 25% improvement on my first attempt at speeding up this process, excited to be making an early contribution to Motion Analysis, however, testing it with data from files showed zero improvement. I was shocked. But I didn’t let that stop me. Over the years I’ve reworked all of the marker tracking, benchmarking multiple improvements. One that stands out was an over 20X speed improvement. Currently, my basic benchmark is from an 8-person capture that could easily be processed at over 2.5X faster than its capture rate, on the same hardware! So we’re ahead of the game already but we have ideas to get even better.”

Ned’s advice to future software engineers comes down to a simple catchphrase: 

“Got an impossible problem to solve? Eager to help!”