Thursday, August 4th, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

Xsens develops inertial mocap suit for horses

Xsens has developed the world’s first inertial mocap suit for horses.

The prototype MVN Equine suit could enable studios to capture motion data without the difficulty of bringing horses into a mocap studio or setting up complex camera equipment outdoors.

You can read all about the research below. Or, if you just want to find out what a horse in a mocap suit actually looks like, play the video above.

Xsens, the leading global supplier of 3D motion tracking systems, today announced accomplishment of the world’s first 3D inertial motion capture of a free-moving horse.

The joint project of Xsens and the Rothschild Fund was completed using an advanced prototype system developed by Xsens to enable 3D motion capture of equine locomotion in real-world conditions. The system utilizes inertial sensors located on the horse’s body and GPS to track full-body motion in any environment, indoors and outdoors, allowing the horse’s innate, voluntary movements to be recorded and viewed on a standard PC in real-time.

Xsens’ R&D Team gladly accepted the challenge of developing the prototype, an inertial motion capture system for horses, as an inspiring and out-of-the box project. The aim was to push
the boundaries of its MVN® inertial motion capture technology; requiring integration with GPS position and velocity tracking, a more complex biomechanical model and higher motion dynamics. Henk Luinge (PhD), Research Manager at Xsens, explains, “We loved the challenge
of pushing our technology beyond the state-of-art and to be part of the great ambition of the Rothschild Fund. They provided the equine biomechanical models, equine knowledge, and the horses, so we could focus on the challenge in the sensor fusion.”

Members of Xsens’ R&D Team and the Rothschild Fund performed the world’s-first 3D inertial motion capture of a horse’s gallop in Woodside, CA, less than 15 kilometers from the site of Leland Stanford’s Palo Alto racetrack where the famous photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, recorded the world’s-first 2D photographic motion capture of a horse’s trot 130 years ago.

“Study of equine locomotion for the past century has remained predominantly laboratory experimentation, in which horses are confined in a controlled environment with stationary cameras,” explains Chris Hart (PhD), a research associate of the Rothschild Fund. “Our goal was
to capture the horse’s motions, without capturing the horse. Remarkably, Xsens, the one company capable of the technical innovation, was also the one company that shared our interest in free-moving horses.”

The “MVN Equine” prototype will be used by the Rothschild Fund to further current understanding of horses and was recently presented to peers at the International Society of Biomechanics Equine SIG in Brussels, July 2011. The technology could potentially also be used
to animate equine computer characters for visual effects in a large film production without the need to bring horses into a (motion capture) studio.

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