Experts Invent New Technology for Animal Motion Capture

Category : Technology/Innovations

Unlocking Word Meanings

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

  1. motion capture technology / ˈmoʊ ʃən ˌkæp tʃər tɛkˈnɒl ə dʒi / (n) – the technology used to record the movements of people or animals and create digital models for animation

    The animated lion in the movie was created through motion capture technology.

  2. time-consuming / ˈtaɪm kənˌsu mɪŋ / (adj) – needing a lot of time to be done or completed

    You should type out your report because writing it by hand is time-consuming.

  3. depth / dɛpθ / (n) – the distance of something from the front to the back

    You need to measure the height, width, and depth of the shelf to see if it fits your study area.

  4. shelter / ˈʃɛl tər / (n) – a place that provides food and other needs of people or animals that don’t have a home

    The city built a homeless shelter to help people living on the streets.

  5. canine / ˈkeɪ naɪn / (n) – a dog

    My dog learned a lot of new tricks with the help of canine trainers.


Read the text below.

A team of researchers from the University of Bath created a device that enables users to digitize their dogs without the need for traditional motion capture technology.

Traditional motion capture requires specialists to attach sensors to a human or animal actor. These sensors are used to track and record their movements, which are transferred to a digital character. As this technology uses several cameras and other equipment, it can be costly and time-consuming, especially when applied to animals.

In contrast, the new technology makes digitizing animals possible with just a single camera. The researchers used an RGBD camera, which has a depth sensor. Data recorded by RGBD cameras can be turned into 3D images.

To test the RGBD camera technology, the researchers photographed 14 different breeds of dog from a local animal shelter. The researchers recorded the dogs’ movements with the assistance of canine handlers. Then, they used the recorded data to generate digital models that replicated the animals’ poses perfectly.

Professor Darren Cosker, the director of the university’s motion capture center, stated that this research will help build more realistic 3D models of animals for other purposes that go beyond film, such as in biology and veterinary medicine.

After a successful attempt with dogs, the researchers are also starting to use the technology on other animals, such as horses, cats, lions, and gorillas.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think it’s possible to create perfectly realistic humans or animals in animated films? Why or why not?
• Should actors who serve as motion capture models also win awards even if they don’t appear in films directly? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Where do you think virtual models could be useful (e.g. communication, healthcare)? Discuss.
• Do you think using virtual models has any disadvantages? Why or why not?

Category : Technology/Innovations