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MEMS now part of motion pictures

Posted: 21 May 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:character animation  MEMS  motion picture 

Analog Devices Inc.(ADI) and Xsens Technologies B.V., a supplier of 3D motion tracking products, have collaborated to develop real-time motion capture technology that is being used for character animation in major motion pictures, including the 2010 releases of "Alice in Wonderland" and the recently released No. 1 box office hit "Iron Man 2." Using ADI's iMEMs high-performance motion sensors and Blackfin DSPs, Xsens' MVN 3D motion capture technology transforms computer-generated character animation for movies and video games.

Incorporated in a lightweight body suit used to record physical movement, the technology is enabling real-time, interactive special effects environments and breakthrough workflows that are transforming the way filmmakers and production teams plan and create movies. Leading video game developers also have adopted the motion capture technology for use in computer-generated character development.

By modifying the motion sensing technology ADI developed for video game play in several major game controllers, Analog Devices tailoured a motion sensing solution for Xsens for its Xsens MVN motion capture suit. The lightweight, lycra MVN suit is equipped with 17 motion trackers containing more than 80 high-performance ADI iMEMS motion sensors and 17 ADI Blackfin DSPs (digital signal processors). iMEMS motion sensors integrate ADI's proprietary MEMS sensor designs with it's high-performance signal processing technology to provide unmatched motion sensing performance. Xsens' proprietary sensor fusion algorithms combine the motion sensor data with advanced biomechanical models to provide the system's high-fidelity full-body motion capture output.

The suit is enabling film production and pre-visualisation companies to bring their creative ideas to the big screen in new, more intuitive and visually compelling ways by providing an easy-to use, cost-efficient system for full-body human motion capture. Unlike previous CGI (computer-generated imagery) techniques, the Xsens MVN suit is more accurate and requires no external cameras, emitters, markers or special lighting. The wireless suit is also easily used in outdoor locations that require extensive freedom of movement - from climbing and jumping to complex fight scenes.

"Analog Devices' iMEMS motion sensing technology provided the right level of performance for our MVN suit design objectives," says Casper Peeters, CEO of Xsens. "It's very exciting to see the game developers and special effects studios not only recognise the flexibility, quality and ease of use that Xsens MVN brings, but also its cost efficiency, bringing positive bottom line results."

"We are seeing the next wave of adoption driven by the heightened awareness of MEMS motion sensor capabilities," said Mark Martin, vice president, MEMS and Sensor Group, Analog Devices. "The first wave was driven by auto safety systems in the 1990s; the second wave by consumer products in the 2000s. During the next decade, a third wave will see the adoption of MEMS sensors in many medical, industrial instrumentation, and other innovative applications. Martin added, "Xsens, which has a deep understanding of what motion signal processing is capable of, has demonstrated that our iMEMS motion sensors don't just improve the quality of game play, they can actually be used in the development of the characters themselves."

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