Xsens bids to make 3D body tracking ubiquitous

9 November 2012
By Bryan Betts
Mobile version
Share |
Xsens 3D body tracking

Xsens 3D body tracking

Xsens 3D body tracking

Xsens 3D body tracking

3D-motion-tracking technology developed for nuclear missiles and Hollywood movies could revolutionise sports, healthcare and gaming, according to Dutch researchers.

Motion-tracking developer Xsens has built the world's first wearable wireless 3D body-motion-tracking system based on consumer-grade sensors, the company's CTO Per Slyke said. It will demonstrate the rig next week at Electronica 2012 in Munich, in association with sensor developer STMicroelectronics.

Slyke said that the Xsens 3D-motion-capture technology used for films such as 'Iron Man 2' and 'X-Men' used expensive high-grade sensors descended from those originally developed to control missiles. However,  by using advanced software to continuously recalibrate the sensors, Xsens has been able to build a similar rig using the much cheaper sensors – miniature accelerometers and gyroscopes – that typically go into smartphones.

“This is the world's first demo of something like this using these small, low-cost sensors,” Slyke said. “It enables the development of apps that can recognise and classify complex motions such as sports techniques by digitising your exact movements.”

He added that the basic technology is already well proven in several areas, including heathcare, sports science and, of course, gaming.

Slyke acknowledged that for some users, something like Microsoft's Kinect might be preferable to having to strap on sensors. He pointed out though that the Kinect approach only works as long as you stay in front of the device.

“The demo is 15 sensors in a full-body rig, but we can also work with just three or four sensors, which might be fine for some applications,” he continued, adding that the Xsens technology can also scavenge signals from existing sensors in mobile devices and smart clothing.

Slyke noted that ABI Research, a market analyst, predicts that over the next five years, the total market for wearable wireless devices in sports and healthcare will grow to 169 and a half million devices in 2017, up from 20.77 million in 2011.

“Our demo is meant to trigger discussions with software companies, large electronics companies, sports brands and so on,” he said. “There is a huge interest in accessories for smartphones such as heart-rate monitors, and a definite trend towards wearable sensors – it's the 'smart body' concept.”

Further information


Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • Senior Development Engineer, Electronics

    Premium job

    Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation
    • Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire
    • Competitive

    We are an innovative, robust and fast growing business, whose main focus is to deliver continues improvement to existing products and offer new sol..

    • Recruiter: Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Asset Specialist

    Affinity Water
    • Hatfield, Hertfordshire

    Responsible for updating and writing electrical engineering standards, approved codes of practice and safe systems of work

    • Recruiter: Affinity Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Electronics Engineer

    York Instruments
    • York, North Yorkshire

    Senior electronics engineer to work as part of a team developing an MEG imaging system; working with the engineering team and external contractors.

    • Recruiter: York Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Manufacturing Engineer - Circuit Card Assembly

    • Lostock Junction
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What’s the opportunity?   Manufacturing UK is an integral part of the Operations Directorate whose principal mission is to ensure that MBDA’s deliverable commitments are met...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Team Leader - Flank Arrays

    BAE Systems
    • Barrow-In-Furness, Cumbria, England
    • Negotiable

    Team Leader - Flank Arrays Would you like to work in a unique role within the construction of the Astute Class submarines? We currently have a vacancy for a Team Leader - Flank Arrays at our site in Barrow-in-Furness. As a Team Leader - Flank Arrays, you

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics and Software Engineer

    Copley Scientific Ltd
    • Nottingham
    • circa £35,000 per annum + bonus

    Develop new test equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. Good opportunities to grow and develop. Successful family-owned and managed business.

    • Recruiter: Copley Scientific Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Bridge Test Facility Manager

    BAE Systems
    • Shropshire, Telford, England
    • Negotiable

    Bridge Test Facility ManagerWe currently have a vacancy for a Bridge Test Facility Manager at our site in Telford with our Land UK business.As the Bridge Test Facility Manager, you will be part of our Test & Trials team, working closely with the Mili

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Intelligent Transport Systems Engineer - Highways Technology

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Birmingham, West Midlands

    Our transport technology team in Birmingham is currently growing a highly skilled and customer-focused team to...

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶


Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T