Scientists Discover Tech that Identifies People through Dance Moves

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. unintentional / ˌʌn ɪnˈtɛn ʃə nl / (adj) – not done on purpose

    He bumped the glass and broke it. He said it was unintentional.

  2. elicit / ɪˈlɪs ɪt / (v) – to get or draw out something from another thing

    The host’s harsh words elicited negative reactions from the audience.

  3. in depth / ɪn dɛpθ / (adv) – in a complete and detailed manner

    The researchers discussed the result of their study in depth.

  4. tell (someone/something) apart / tɛl əˈpɑrt / (phrasal) – to be able to tell the differences of something or someone from another thing or person

    These colors look so similar that I can’t tell them apart!

  5. as (someone) please / əz pliz / (idiom) – in a way that someone wants or prefers

    This library is free, so you can go and read as you please.


Read the text below.

A group of researchers from a university in Finland discovered that people can be identified through their dance moves using a technology they made.

The discovery was purely unintentional. The team was initially aiming to find out how musical genres elicit specific dance movements since this has not been explored in depth in previous studies.

However, the results showed that the technology they used was less than 30% accurate in connecting musical genres to specific dance moves. Unexpectedly, they found that their technology could tell people apart based on their dance moves 94% of the time.

The study involved 73 participants from 24 different countries. They were instructed to listen to the music the team would play and dance to it as they pleased. The pieces of music used in the study fall under eight genres: pop, dance, jazz, blues, country, metal, rap, and reggae.

Electronic markers were placed on the participants’ bodies. These were used to track their movements along with motion capture tech that had 12 cameras.

Doctor Pasi Saari, one of the study’s authors, said that it was as if each person’s way of dancing is a kind of fingerprint. He added that people had unique movements that remained the same regardless of the kind of music they danced to.

Despite the potentials of their study, the researchers clarified that they do not intend to use their technology for surveillance like face-recognition technology. Instead, they are more interested in using it to know more about human musicality. The team also hopes to discover the connection between people’s movements and their personality and culture.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with the researchers’ decision to use the technology to learn about human musicality instead of to use it for surveillance? Why or why not?
• In what other ways can the motion-capture technology in the research be used? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think researchers should study art (e.g. dance, painting) in a scientific way? Why or why not?
• What is something about art that you think should be explored further (e.g. rhythm, colors)? Discuss.