New online course on Motion Capture

After two years of development, RITMO launches an online course on how to record, visualize, and analyze human body motion.

String quartet with mocap equipment

Motion capture and eye-tracking of the Borealis String Quartet during a research concert at RITMO. Photo: Annica Thomson/UiO.

The new online course Motion Capture: The Art of Studying Human Activity is for everyone interested in the art of studying human movement.

“People are fascinated about the capabilities of high-end motion capture systems,” says Professor Alexander Refsum Jensenius, project leader for the new course.

There are many types of motion capture systems. Most people think about the ones where users wear a suit with reflective markers.

“When we looked around, we couldn’t find any courses introducing motion capture more broadly. So we decided to make one ourselves,” Jensenius says.

From biomechanics to data management

The new Motion Capture course starts with teaching the basics of human anatomy and biomechanics. RITMO lab engineer Kayla Burnim argues that it is necessary to have some basic knowledge before delving into the technology.

“It is important to understand a bit about how the body moves as well as what the technology can do to plan a movement analysis experiment. So in this course, we focus on introducing basic concepts and terminology to help researchers build that foundational knowledge,” she says.

The Motion Capture course is for all students and research staff interested in using motion capture technologies in their research activities.

The following weeks in the course contain all the information necessary to conduct a motion capture experiment: setting up cameras, calibrating the system, post-processing, and analysis.

The focus is on infrared motion capture, but other sensing technologies are also presented, including accelerometers, muscle sensors, and video analysis.

“Nobody will be an expert after taking the course, but they will have a good foundation when walking into a motion capture lab,” Burnim explains.

“That simplifies my role as a lab engineer since I know that people have the basics in place.”

Learning data management

Running a motion capture experiment is not only about handling advanced technologies.

“People often find that the data management side is the most challenging part of an experiment,” Burnim says.

In Motion Capture, the last week is dedicated to data management, including documentation, privacy, and legal issues.

“The benefits of proper project planning are maximized when starting early. This also makes it easier to ensure that we abide by privacy regulations and copyright restrictions.”

Musicians on stage with motion capture equipment.
The course was partly filmed during a real-world motion capture experiment. Photo: Alexander Refsum Jensenius/UiO.

Available worldwide

The course will run on the FutureLearn platform from January 2022.

“We are excited about releasing the course worldwide,” Jensenius says.

Much effort has been put into ensuring accessibility. All videos have been captioned, and it is possible to download transcripts. The layout has also been developed to work well on both mobile phones and PCs.

“People learn everywhere these days, and learning about human body movement can happen wherever and whenever you want.”

Sign up for the course

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