Motion capture systems developer Vicon is previewing a futuristic new “Mobile Mocap” technology at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver. Moving mocap out of the lab and into the field, Vicon’s Mobile Mocap system taps several new technologies, many years in the making. At the heart of Mobile Mocap is a very small lipstick-sized camera that enables less obtrusive, more accurate facial animation data. The new cameras capture 720p (1280X720) footage at 60 frames per second. In addition, a powerful processing unit synchronizes, stores, and wirelessly transmits the data, all in a tiny wearable design.
The company sees many possible future uses for the technology in automotive ergonomics testing, the medical industry, eye tracking, military surveillance and entertainment.
The minute cameras can, for example, be embedded into a car to move ergonomics testing out of a test lab and onto the road to capture authentic data of how a driver interacts with a car in real world conditions.
Utilizing a head-mounted camera device (HMC), the technology can also reliably capture both the nuances and contours of facial activity for signature performances applied to digital characters for games, film and television. In development for over four years, prototypes of this technology were used for facial capture with Jim Carrey in Disney’s A Christmas Story and for Jeff Bridges’ performance in Tron Legacy.
“Mobile Mocap represents a huge development leap, enabling new ways to unobtrusively capture highly accurate performance and movement data for the entertainment, medical, military and engineering markets,” said Doug Griffin, VP/product manager at Vicon. “Eliminating the restrictions and confinements of a motion capture stage opens up a world of possibility as to how the technology can help uniquely solve business and design problems for artists and engineers.”
In addition to Mobile Mocap, Vicon is also previewing the newest version of its motion capture pipeline processing software, Blade 2.0. The technology features new core architecture and algorithms to consistently capture the most detailed motion possible, reduced interference with the natural movement critical in any entertainment venue, and accurate, real-time playback that facilitates communication between directors and actors. By changing the experience on the mocap stage with the integration of a virtual camera, studios can increase efficiency; the director can now focus on creativity and the live-action shot, the technician does not have to worry about system failures and the actor receives visual reference for real-time feedback on their performance.