CMU and Disney Research Pittsburgh take motion capture to new levels - CTTEC - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, August 8, 2011

CMU and Disney Research Pittsburgh take motion capture to new levels


Researchers at and Disney Research Pittsburgh are developing the next generation of motion capture animation techniques and presenting their findings Monday at a conference in Vancouver.

Current motion capture, which is used in movies like “Lord of the Rings” for the Gollum character or Davey Jones in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” uses reference markers on the body of an actor and then infrared cameras mounted in a room to capture an actor’s movement. However, this technique is limited to indoor filming.

“If you go outside the sun interferes with the system, also it’s confined to close space,” said Yaser Sheikh, assistant research professor in CMU’s Robotics Institute. “This system you wear the camera and it can be done outside and over long stretches of space.”

The CMU and Disney Research method takes 19 high definition video cameras and places them on the person and allows for motion capture in a natural environment.

The method is still experimental, Sheikh said, and uses significantly more computing power to render than current methods since each camera is producing 60 frames per second of HD video.

“It’s still a couple years out to be viable,” he said, but now that the research phase of the work is done, the team can look at further development of the technology.

“This could be the future of motion capture,” said Takaaki Shiratori, a post-doctoral associate at Disney Research Pittsburgh, in a written statement. And as the cameras themselves become cheaper, “I think anyone will be able to do motion capture in the not-so-distant future.”

Shiratori is part of the team presenting the findings at SIGGRAPH, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.

The entire system is based on a process called structure from motion and is based on the work of Takeo Kanade, a professor of computer science and robotics at CMU. The system uses structure from motion to analyze a person’s surroundings and estimate the pose of the cameras mounted on the person.

Also being presented at the conference is technology that allows video game players to feel what they are seeing on screen. Called Surround Haptics, the technology was developed by CMU and Disney’s Black Rock Studio and features a chair with inexpensive vibrating actuators that responds to game play.

“Although we have only implemented Surround Haptics with a gaming chair to date, the technology can be easily embedded into clothing, gloves, sports equipment and mobile computing devices,” said Ivan Poupyrev, senior research scientist at Disney Research Pittsburgh, in a written statement. Poupyrev along with researcher Ali Israr invented and developed Surround Haptics with researcher Ali Israr.



Article courtesy of Pittsburgh Business Times