View Full Version : State of the Art in Markerless Motion Tracking

Stefano Corazza
03-15-2008, 03:40 AM
While I don't have direct experience with the Organic motion system,
from various articles and the material on the website it seems that it
still has some practical limitation. Currently the system uses black
and white cameras and requires a white screen to perform background
subtraction (
http://www.wired.com/gaming/gamingreviews/multimedia/2008/02/gdc_gallery_2?slide=2&slideView=2 ). There doesn?t appear to be any quantitative validation data currently available. In addition, the system operates as a black box and it appears it would be difficult for biomechanical applications to access variables like the definition of the anatomical coordinate frames and joint center positions. Given these limitation its capacity to reconstruction kinematics in real time is

In a biomechanical analysis context, it is important to notice that
the two fundamental approaches in markerless motion capture have
different sensitivity to the skin artifact phenomenon. Simplifying a
bit they can be defined as:

1. Surface Feature Tracking: This approach is based on tracking local
features on the subject's surface,
2. Volumetric Reconstruction: This approach is based on reconstructing
the subject's volume from silhouettes and tracks the reconstruction
with an a priori defined model.

The volumetric approach, due to its different formulation, is not as
sensitive to local skin artifact as marker based systems. However, the
approach is quite sensitive to camera resolution and the number of

At the Stanford Biomotion Lab we have developed a markerless motion
capture system that uses the volumetric approach and have found good
agreement with marker based kinematic measurements. The current system
consisting of 8 VGA cameras has demonstrated the capacity to be used
effectively for biomechanical applications, not requiring an ad hoc
background and suitable for outdoor applications too.

For additional information see publications at

Best regards,

Stefano Corazza

Quoting Matt O'Brien :

> Along with 5 or so other manufactures of motion capture equipment, I saw the
> Organic Motion system at the 2008 Game Developer's Conference in San
> Francisco. Other companies such as Moven (a suit based system) and
> Optitrack (low end, $5,000 system) were there, along with the old stalwarts,
> Motion Analysis Inc.
> With the Organic Motion system, the capture volume is small, and permanently
> fixed. Apparently the company needs to come out and do the installation for
> you. As far as using it, it was pretty neat. After standing in a T-pose
> for one or two seconds, the sensors look for a difference between you and
> the white backdrop. Once the software gets a feel for you, you are free to
> move, without any sensors attached.
> According to the sales person at the booth, the software has a library of
> human movements with which it will try to validate to what it tracks from
> the human mover. Possibly a big red flag for research oriented users...?
> Overall, I didn't get the feeling like the system was ready for use in human
> movement or biomechanics right out of the box. I don't know how much
> tooling and customization it would take, and of course that really depends
> on what type of research the user is doing. It does, however, seem like a
> great solution for animation (at least for a small volume. Not sure about
> facial captures though). The company is only 2 years old, and from what I
> understand, they have sold their first few units this year to some animation
> studios in the UK.
> At the very least, it is great to see novel motion capture equipment come to
> market. The biomechanics applications still appear to be lagging, however,
> in most of the solutions. I assume most growth in this industry will
> continue to become more and more driven by applications such as animation,
> video games, and commercials.
> Matt O'Brien, B.S. Kinesiology
> San Francisco CA
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