WSU’s Faculty of Kinesiology advances gait and posture biomechanics research with Motion Analysis

Dr. Robert Catena is Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at Washington State University, where he oversees the Gait and Posture Biomechanics lab. This lab is used to conduct research in dynamic balance, with the goal of reducing falls in society. Beyond its research goals, the lab also gives students the opportunity to use some of the most advanced movement analysis equipment available.

"Motion Analysis systems. I like that their solutions have a long lifespan, this allows us to easily add new cameras to the mix as we expand the lab. I also appreciate the robustness of the software, which allows me to customize tests and set up things the way I prefer.”

Robert Catena

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, Washington State University


Advanced movement analysis solutions for a world-class facility

The Gait and Posture Biomechanics Lab includes everything needed to undertake and successfully complete research of dynamic balance control.

This space is home to a 11-camera Motion Analysis motion capture system. This camera system is capable of tracking markers in real-time up to 300 frames per second with submillimetre accuracy (in a 22m3 volume).

“I first used Motion Analysis systems as a grad student and I have preferred them ever since,” explains Dr. Catena.

WSU's Mocap Studio

Long lifespan and compatibility

Motion Analysis systems are designed with scalability in mind, enabling users to add new cameras as needed without having to purchase an entirely new system. All camera systems can be integrated into the same system, allowing users to mix and match cameras as they scale.

When the Faculty needed to expand its lab to accommodate research that required longer-distance tracking, it was easy to add new cameras to the existing Motion Analysis system.

“They are always updating their technology, but I appreciate that they ensure it works with the older stuff so that my whole system isn’t obsolete with each new technology update.”

Robust software

Cortex is Motion Analysis’ movement analysis program. The software has been developed over three decades in close collaboration with research and education facilities, and is designed with power and flexibility in mind. Its advanced tools allow researchers to setup tests and use standard models or create their own custom models specific to their requirements.

“The power of Cortex really lies in the fact that it allows me to run tests the way that I need to. I am not limited to specific methods,” says Dr. Catena.

Helping students to visualize forces acting on the body

Outside of the lab, Dr. Catena uses Motion Analysis as a tool to help his students understand Biomechanics by visualizing the way forces act on the human body. Motion Analysis’s Cortex software allows users to input an anthropometric model and see the whole body center of mass in real time. Combined with a force plate, students are able to see the interplay between gravitational acceleration and ground reaction force in clinical and performance applications.

About Motion Analysis

Create a world-class movement analysis facility using superior motion capture technology.

Motion Analysis has been trusted by researchers, educators, coaches, and physical therapists around the world for over 35 years. Choose from a range of powerful out-of-the-box modules or customize the system to meet your needs. Either way, you’re guaranteed accurate data collection and translation, instantly.

Motion Analysis is a leading manufacturer of high-performance optical instrumentation systems that test and measure the movement of objects. Our systems evaluate motion in a wide variety of industries, including animation production, broadcasting, movement analysis, and industrial.

Motion Analysis is headquartered in California, with an office in the UK and resellers around the world.

To learn more visit https://motionanlysisc.wpengine.com/movement-analysis/

University of Lincoln uses Motion Analysis software for injury prevention

Dr. Franky Mulloy is a Lecturer in Biomechanics at the University of Lincoln’s School of Sport and Exercise Science, where he heads up the Business Lincolnshire Motion Capture Hub and is the Principal Investigator for two, 3-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grants: one on domestic trampoline development, and the second on load carriage systems with the police and military.

I have used a number of different motion capture systems, but I like Motion Analysis  for the quality of data produced; the software interface; the customer support; and the ability a user has to change and customise a lot of capture settings.”

Dr. Franky Mulloy

Lecturer in Biomechanics, University of Lincoln

Seamless integration for innovative industrial applications

The Motion Capture Technology Hub, also known as the Mocap Hub, at the University of Lincoln, is designed to help any business or sector that requires the quantification of movement, whether it be in a clinical setting, physiotherapy, engineering or more. It has three areas of focus, namely: human-equipment interaction; the manufacturing process; and injury prevention in people. 

The space is 12m x 6m with a high ceiling and 17 wall-mounted cameras, which are a combination of Raptor 12s and Raptor-Es. Portable force plates, and a Delsys Galileo EMG decomposition system with 6 sensors that are all synchronised through the Motion Analysis system. 

“I mostly use standard motion capture to track kinematics, with integrated force plates, but recently, I also synchronised Delsys systems to incorporate EMG decomposition.The seamless integration of Motion Analysis software with multiple systems is incredibly useful as it gives us greater flexibility for industry engagement to support research and development processes.”

Motion Analysis software integrates with a wide range of third party tools including AMTI Force Platforms, Delsys EMG systems, Kistler Force Platforms, National Instruments (M, MX and C-Series devices), Tec Gihan Digital Platforms, Tobii Pro2 Glasses, Basler GigE cameras, and Flir (Point Grey) cameras.

Customization capabilities with Cortex

Cortex enables accurate and precise low-latency measurement of kinetic movement and body angles, so industrial users can effectively identify and correct ergonomic issues that lead to injury, or design more effective ergonomic products.

With this system, Dr. Mulloy is able to engage with exciting projects, such as working alongside a global tactical vest manufacturer, using biomechanics and motion capture to alter the fit of the vests in order to reduce neck strain in highly dynamic activities.

“Biomechanics is about reliability and validity of data. Motion Analysis has a lot of versatile and customisable software options. Once you know the different functions and settings of the software, you can manipulate them for tracking, and collect excellent data in a variety of settings and scenarios. I regularly tweak the tracking settings as it allows me to undertake varied data collections for different applications, but with clear kinematic tracking.”

Increased efficiency through batch processing

Dr Mulloy, alongside Dr. Oliva Brown, is also currently working on science to underpin trampoline design with a global trampoline manufacture, Plum Products Ltd, and previously completed a 7-month longitudinal study with dancers, using biofeedback with four core ballet skills. The aim of this research was to improve performance in jumps and balances, and prevent injury in leap landing. Often these studies will require large data sets and multiple trials. 

Cortex enables a significantly larger amount of data to be collected compared to traditional techniques, reducing overall lab time and data processing.

“As a research group we deal with large data, and for a range of different uses. It’s very time consuming to have to clean up data after you’ve had 5000 or more trials. But being able to batch code things means you can do that autonomously, which saves us time.”

Using Motion Analysis tech to set world records

The Mocap Hub isn’t only trying to design safer equipment and smarter ballet moves to prevent injury prevention. Turns out, they’re looking to help adaptive athletes set some world records too. Recently they used Motion Analysis software to assess the range of motion on rower Kelda Woods and guide adapting the boat so she could attempt to be the first adaptive athlete to row the Atlantic solo. 

About Motion Analysis

Motion Analysis has been trusted by researchers, educators, coaches, and physical therapists around the world for over 35 years. Choose from a range of powerful out-of-the-box modules or customize the system to meet your needs. Either way, you’re guaranteed accurate data collection and translation, instantly.

Motion Analysis is a leading manufacturer of high-performance optical instrumentation systems that test and measure the movement of objects. Our systems evaluate motion in a wide variety of industries, including animation production, broadcasting, movement analysis, and industrial.

Motion Analysis is headquartered in California, with an office in the UK and resellers around the world.

Want to create a world-class movement analysis facility using superior motion capture technology?

To learn more visit https://www.motionanalysis.com/movement-analysis/ 

EPFL paves the way for safe, accurate gas leak detection

When gas leaks occur - for example in warehouses, environmental emergencies, or search and rescue operations - it is very important to be able to locate the source of the leak in order to take fast and effective countermeasures. This is usually done using animals, which is very costly and puts human and animal lives in danger.

Using robots to detect gas sources in 3D

Chiara Ercolani is a Ph.D. student at the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory (DISAL) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Chiara and her team believe that using robots to detect gas leaks is the best way to save lives.

One of the team’s most recent projects involved 3D gas source localization using a micro aerial vehicle (drone). 

Wind tunnels, gas plumes, and drones

The experiment was conducted in a wind tunnel facility (16x4x2) m3 with laminarized wind flow of adjustable speed. An electric pump was used to disperse a mixture of ethanol and air in the wind tunnel to create the gas plume.

Gas dispersion is a 3D phenomenon, so to be effective in 3D gas source localization, the team needed to use platforms capable of 3D motion tracking.

The team experimented with sensor location, performance under various environmental conditions, and two localization strategies. The full results can be viewed in this short video summary.

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the third aspect of the experiment, namely determining what effect each of the following localization methods would have on the outcome of the gas source localization:

  1. Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) localization system with 8 beacons
  2. Motion Capture System (MCS) with 13 cameras

Motion Capture System localization outperforms Ultra Wide Band localization

While UWB localization is easier to deploy and cheaper, this experiment makes it clear that using a motion capture system offers better performance under all tested environmental conditions. The drone’s movements are clearly much cleaner and smoother than the UWB system. As a result, the drone is faster and more efficient. 

These results show that MCS localization is more accurate than UWB localization. We also see that the drone’s movement is much more efficient when MCS is used.

Motion Analysis is the mocap partner of choice

The DISAL lab has used motion capture technology and software from Motion Analysis for many years, so when the time came to purchase a second motion capture system, the choice was clear. The laboratory now has 13 Kestrel 1300 cameras and the team uses Cortex to process performance data. 

“When we needed to purchase a second motion capture system, Motion Analysis was our first choice. Not only is the system great to use, but the team is always very helpful. They helped us envision the system setup within the wind tunnel and we are in regular contact with them for tips and advice.”

Chiara Ercolani

Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL)

To learn more about this research, please visit https://www.epfl.ch/labs/disal/research/3dodorsensing/

To learn more about the motion capture system and the powerful Cortex software, please visit our solution overview page.

Centroid creates poetry in motion on location and in the studio

Established in 1996, Centroid Motion Capture offers motion capture services primarily for games, television and film. The studio’s impressive portfolio 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.

Flexible camera configurations, without compromise

Philip Stilgoe is the CEO of Centroid. “We have been using Motion Analysis systems since our inception and are still very happy with their technology and support. Their next-generation cameras enable us to capture amazing volumes of high-quality data using under a hundred cameras.”

Using the Raptor camera system, the studio is able to offer both truss-mounted and tri-pod configurations and is able to shoot on set under film lighting, or outside in natural environments. As a result, bespoke performance volumes to capture animals, or shoots in more unusual environments such as ice rinks, equestrian centers, and tennis courts are always possible.

“The flexibility of the camera configurations is one of the best features of this system,” says Stilgoe. “And it’s always backed by excellent support. Motion Analysis is always willing to help us configure complex shoots and have even hired additional cameras to us for larger shoots.”

Centroid using Motion Analysis

Powerful motion software for efficient motion capture and editing

Motion Analysis’ motion capture and editing software, Cortex, makes the real-time previsualization process flexible and straightforward by elegantly separating data processing tasks such as tracking, identifying, skeleton solving, and retargeting. Cortex includes powerful features that allow new subjects to be set up quickly, in a single step. It is compatible with applications such as Maya, MotionBuilder, Unity, and Unreal in both real-time and from data files.

“Cortex is a brilliant piece of software,” says Stilgoe. “It’s easy to use and very robust, giving us great quality data from pre-production to delivery.”

Cortex comes with several handy modules embedded, including Calcium Solver, a powerful skeletal creation, setup and motion solving solution; and Continuous Calibration, a self-diagnosing, self-correcting camera calibration tool.

“A brilliant piece of software. It’s easy to use and very robust, giving us great quality data from pre-production to delivery.”

Philip Stilgoe

CEO of Centroid Motion Capture Studios

A partnership approach

Motion Analysis values the insight and experience of its customers and relies on them to guide product development and to test new systems.

“As a customer, we enjoy testing new Motion Analysis technology. We enjoy being part of the process and the resulting technology just gets better and better.”

Centroid in motion

Facing the future

Centroid recently opened a new performance capture studio in the UK - one of the largest and most advanced in the world. The facility is equipped with 84 Motion Analysis Raptor 4 cameras with an additional 148 Motion Analysis cameras in reserve.

Using these, Centroid offers a state-of-the-art full performance capture volume of up to 23m L x 13m W x 5m H, capturing face, body and fingers simultaneously. The volume has the capability of capturing 10 performers simultaneously, which is suitable for the most demanding of cutscenes, stunt co-ordination, crowd simulation and sports applications.

“Our new facility offers more space, the best technology, and all the comforts our clients have grown to love.”