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article imageNow you can digitize your dog into a computer game

By Tim Sandle     Jun 30, 2020 in Technology
Bath - Technologists have worked on a new form of motion capture technology that allows the user to digitize their dog without the expense of a motion capture suit and based around using just one camera.
British scientists, based at the University of Bath, have come up with the technological solution to enable easy-motion capture, designed for pet owners. This takes the form of software. As well as the home market, the technology can assist vets with diagnosing animal health, such as lameness. A further application is with assessing recovery following surgical procedures.
Motion capture technology is most commonly used with the entertainment industry, used in a number of films and first pioneered with great success in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The process involves digitally capturing movement data, which is then transferred as a digital character for later use.
Outside of movies the technology has been pushed forward in the field of biomechanics to assess athletes during training, and also in the medical area, such as assessing patient rehabilitation. While the technology can be applied widely, the cost is prohibitive.
To find a lower-cost solution, researchers based at the University of Bath's motion capture research center, have successfully digitised the movement of 14 breeds of dog (each breed a residents at the local animal welfare institute - the Bath Cats' and Dogs' Home). This was achieved using a single camera.
Specially designed 'doggie motion capture suits' equipped with markers were developed. Once fitted, the dogs were digitally captured undertaking a range of movements. the digital data was used to construct a computer model that accurately replicates the poses of dogs in 3D.
The camera used not only captured color, but also the distance from the camera for each pixel, all from a single camera. According to researcher Sinéad Kearney: "This is the first time RGBD images have been used to track the motion of dogs using a single camera, which is much more affordable than traditional motion capture systems that require multiple cameras.
The technology was showcased at the virtual CVPR (Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition) conference during June 2020.
The next steps are to apply the technology to develop computer-generated images of horses, cats, lions and gorillas.
More about motion capture, digitize, Computer game
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