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A new motion capture suit has the potential to transform the way we perform motion capture, freeing it from traditional motion capture set-ups, and providing a new way for producers and businesses to obtain high-quality motion capture data for animation and ergonomic analysis.
The Go-Pro of Motion Capture?
Netherlands-based 3D motion tracking company XSens has been developing a new kind of motion capture technology that doesn’t require the kind of advanced staging that traditional motion capture uses, freeing the motion capture performer to record movement wherever—and in whatever environment—they need to.
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The company’s MVN product line uses motion capture technology that utilizes inertial sensors rather than the typical markers, volumes, and cameras. The MVN line features two different motion capture set-ups to provide “Production-ready” motion capture data.
The MVN Awinda uses seventeen wireless trackers that are wrapped around parts of a performers body, such as a headband, wrist bands, and arm and leg bands, that transmit movement data up to 60 ft indoors or 150 feet outdoors to a backpack called an Awinda station where the data is recorded or streamed for live processing.
The other product is the MVN Link, a lycra bodysuit with wireless trackers built in and is much more robust than the MVN Awinda. The suit comes in 5 different sizes and has a wireless range indoors of about 150 ft and an outdoor range of 450 ft, though the company indicates that this range is extendable. All actors using the MVN Link transmit to a central data link that records or streams their data.
Diversity of Use Cases
When we spoke to XSens back in Las Vegas for CES 2019, general manager for XSens, Boele De Bie, explained how even though their products are right at home doing production level motion capture for major films, their technology is just as useful outside of an animation studio in Hollywood.
“if a car manufacturer wants to set up an assembly line and he wants to make sure that workers there are working in an ergonomic, safe way,” De Bie said, “then the products that we have can be used by the car manufacturer to model the line up front.”
“He can integrate the models the workers into the CAD design of the assembly setup and then he can calculate the stress and strain on the human body.”
Not only that, De Bie said, the same technology can be just as useful in validating the ergonomic safety of the assembly line once it's built.
“The suit can be used to validate the stress and strain,” he said. “So that means that upfront when you do a design of an assembly line...you can use our suits to test it. In fact, you can already qualify the assembly line for the [government health and safety requirements] that there are in terms of ergonomic safety, health, and related aspects.”