UNE moved by machine

THE University of New England has a new toy that has the potential to revolutionise the health sciences, sports performance and even psychology.

UNE has taken delivery of an organic motion system, which allows human movement to be tracked in its most natural state.

One of only three in Australia, it uses a new form of advanced “markerless” motion capture technology that allows a person’s movements to be observed and analysed through digitally recreating movements on a high-powered computer.

Unlike previous technology, the person being studied does not have to wear a suit with markers attached to their body for their motion to be captured. 

Dr Kath Shorter from UNE’s School of Science and Technology, says the uses for the machine will only be limited by researchers’ imaginations. 

“Whether we are looking at certain sporting movements or analysing someone’s gait, organic motion can actually follow and track that movement,” she said. 

“It’s also really useful in studying children, because they can play normally, while we analyse their movement without them actually being aware that we are doing so.” 

The machine places the subject in a specially-constructed space, while multiple cameras record every body movement in real time, producing an animated version of the person which is saved for further analysis. 

“As soon as someone walks into the organic motion machine we can already be recording their motion and coming out with meaningful data,” Dr Shorter said. 

“With other systems, the researcher often has to spend hours or even days processing data.” 

The organic motion machine will be useful across a whole range of disciplines at UNE, including exercise and sport science, sports performance evaluation, health sciences, medicine and psychology.

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