UC Merced Adopts VICON F40 Motion Capture System

School of Engineering Taps Into the Power of VICON for Projects in Cognitive Science, Virtual Reality, Biomechanics and Robotics

VICON, developer of Academy Award®-winning motion capture systems, today announced the adoption of its F40 motion capture system at University of California, Merced’s School of Engineering for research projects in cognitive science, virtual reality, biomechanics and robotics.

Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, UC Merced’s School of Engineering began construction on a “Cognitive Sensorium” in spring 2008, with plans for completion in early 2009. The project is in collaboration with the Cognitive Science Program at the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. The Sensorium is a 28 1/2’ X 18’ room equipped with state-of-the-art technology for 3D visualization and tracking and recording human behaviors that includes the VICON F40 motion capture system. The 10-camera mocap system will be set up on rails mounted in front of a large multi-tile visualization wall inside the Sensorium to create a full motion capture volume. The mocap system can also be configured with freestanding tripods to capture larger movements such as running and jumping outside the Sensorium environment.

Marcelo Kallmann, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the UC Merced School of Engineering, described the school’s plans for using motion capture technology in robotics. “Our robotics groups are involved in projects for controlling humanoid robots,” Kallmann said. “Some people use motion capture trackers to teleoperate robots, but that’s not the purpose here. Our group is using the VICON motion capture system to learn about human motion from captured data so that humanoid robots can perform more human-like motions and better operate in human environments.”

“Another thing we’re using the VICON system for is to learn human stepping patterns,” Kallmann continued. “We’ll capture movements of a person walking and stepping around within a proscribed area with the goal being to reuse those captured motions for automatically generating the animation of autonomous characters in constrained spaces. For instance, think about which movements you choose when you have to move around furniture in a small room. We are collecting all of this data using motion capture—pieces of information describing strategies which can be selected for use in different situations.”

In addition to robotics and projects for the Cognitive Science Program, the VICON motion capture system at UC Merced is also being utilized for studies in biomechanics, including capturing karate moves of both experts and beginners in order to compare them and use them for teaching and demonstrating purposes. Another project being initiated is for full-body interaction with virtual environments, in particular supporting the creation of a Virtual Heritage Center at UC Merced.

“We were certain that we wanted to use VICON equipment at UC Merced,” concluded Kallmann. “We sought out recommendations from other researchers, and all of them told us that VICON provides the best in motion capture technology. The system is very flexible and can be used in a variety of configurations, which is perfect for our projects. We definitely plan on expanding the system with additional cameras in the future.”

Academy Award®-winning VICON is the world’s largest supplier of precision motion tracking systems, serving customers and CG animation applications in film, visual effects, computer games, and broadcast television, as well as engineering and life science industries. VICON operates in four offices worldwide, including its Los Angeles-based Entertainment headquarters, a 26,000 square-foot facility equipped with three performance capture stages for VICON’s service company House of Moves as well as over 250 VICON F40 cameras.

VICON is the largest holding of OMG (Oxford Metrics Group – LSE: OMG), plc., a group of technology companies that produces image understanding solutions for the entertainment, defense, life science and engineering markets. Other holdings include Emmy Award®-winning 2d3 and newly founded Geospatial Vision Ltd.

VICON’s and OMG’s global clients include: life science leaders University of Pennsylvania, the VA Hospitals, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Titleist Golf, The Andrews Institute; engineering industry leaders Ford, BMW, Airbus, Lockheed, Pratt-Whitney, NASA, Caterpillar, International Truck, and Toyota; and entertainment companies Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Computer Entertainment, Industrial Light and Magic, Sega, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Vivendi, Electronic Arts, Square Enix and many others. For more information about OMG and its subsidiaries, visit www.omg3d.com, www.vicon.com, or www.2d3.com.

VICON and VICON MX are trademarks of OMG plc. Academy Award is a trade or servicemark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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