A new Dog Motion Capture technology has been developed by researchers from CAMERA. This latest software allows them to digitize dogs without the need for a typical motion capture suit.
The range of possibilities for this software is huge, it could provide vets with new ways of diagnosing skeletal issues in dogs. Perhaps even monitoring the after care of dogs following operations and seeing the progress of recovery. Or even fun things like putting virtual dogs in to movies or computer games with more realism.
Motion capture is nothing new to the ever expanding entertainment industry. You have probably seen actors wearing bizarre looking suits with white markers all over them. These white markers allow numerous cameras to capture movements made by the actor. This enables the software to build a 3D skeleton of a human and how it moves.
The film industry currently uses this type of technology but it has uses in many other areas. For instance, to check the way an athlete runs to fine tune performance, or for example, checking how well a patient has responded to physiotherapy. These methods are expensive and have costly outlay of equipment and software.
The path to Doggywood
Computer scientists from University of Baths motion capture research center have managed to digitize 14 different breeds of dog. This research didn’t require any high paid doggy actors. The researchers headed to their local rescue center Bath Cats and Dogs Home. BCDH were keen to provide some dogs ready to put there paws on the path to “Doggywood”.
The dogs came along with dog handlers from BCDH and each received a futuristic dog motion capture suit. The cameras could then capture the way the dogs moved doing various tasks. The tasks were all normal things that dogs would have been doing during exercise at the rescue center.
A complex computer model built from the data generated from the 14 different breeds of dogs is now in use. The software acts like a 3D database of the movements and poses that a dog can do. This means that future doggy actors wont need to wear the tracking suit (we know our dog wouldnt have time for that!!!)
The new database means a dog will be tracked using a single RGBD camera which will reduce the cost of the process. The RGBD camera is similar to the normal everyday camera but it also samples the distance of each part of the subject from the camera.
Dog motion capture has never been carried out using the single camera RGBD technique. As this research expands and techniques improve then the technology could filter down and be easily accessible. The day may come when you can get a 3D version of you dog on your computer screen to use in games, films or almost anything.
Expansion of the technology is already happening and the team have started testing recording and sampling other four legged animals. The long term aim is to eventually create a huge animal dataset with endless possibilities of uses.
See what one of the researchers, Sinead Kearney has to say:
If you are interested in reading the entire research paper you can find it here