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Department of Health and Kinesiology purchases motion capture system for research

Senior Reporter

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 00:11

The Department of Health and Kinesiology at Sam Houston State University recently purchased a motion capture camera system to help increase research opportunities into different types of movement.

The three-camera system uses highly reflective sensors that are picked up by the cameras. Input from the sensors reads out in different quantifying measures.

"We place silver reflective balls at certain anatomical places and joints and the cameras see the reflections," Assistant professor Jennifer Didier said. "How we’ll use it here is for motor behavior and biomechanics research."

The high-tech system is the same type of equipment used in some video game software.

"Basically, it’s the same kind of system used in video games," Assistant Professor A. Page Glave, Ph. D., said. "It let’s us take things we’ve all heard growing up playing sports and gives us a way to capture it from a video point, but it also quantifies all this information."

The research possibilities of the system seem nearly as limitless as the motion capabilities documented by it.

"We can measure the mechanics of obesity and how excess weight affects the body, weight-lifting mechanics and sports performances," Glave said.

The motion capture system takes a motion and calculates it accordingly.

"It allows you to actually mathematically calculate velocity, and synchronize with electromyography (EMG), force platforms and pressure," Didier said.

This system was purchased by the Health and Kinesiology Department for multiple reasons.

"It was partly because of the bid on the system, but also because this [system] is the standard," Glave said. "It is student-friendly, undergrad and graduate-friendly; and it also gives the department a competitive advantage."

Professors are not the only ones excited about the new system.

"I think it’s pretty cool," senior kinesiology major David Freedman said. "It’s neat and it will definitely help with research and teaching."

The department hopes to add more cameras to the system.

"As we get grant money, we’d like to purchase more cameras," Didier said. "We’re at the minimum right now since three cameras are needed to see each reflective marker. For 3-D cameras you need at least six cameras, but typically you want about eight."

The Vicon Motion Capture System was purchased for $31,970.

The department is currently in the process of setting up the motion capture system.

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