Home security systems, video games and smartphones are all equipped with sensors, but the technology is making an impact on major industries, as well. Motion sensors not only bringing characters to life on film, but they're also helping to protect drivers on the road, too.
If you're a fan of CGI animation, you're witnessing the results of motion capture on the big screen. "Motion capture technology is the technology of using markers or sensors to record data from a human being doing the motion," Irfan Merchant, CEO of Mobile Motion, tells The Huffington Post's Katie Linendoll. "And then you can apply that motion to an animation character."
As Linendoll demonstrates, actors are placed in special suits that have 17 built-in sensors. As the person moves, the sensors record activity that corresponds with each part of the body. Then the data and transferred and laid on to a digital character.
The technology is used to bring animations to life, but it's also being applied outside of the entertainment industry. According to Merchant, lawyers have used motion capture to recreate accidents, and athletes have used it to analyze and improve their performance.
Additionally, motion capture is becoming more mainstream in the automotive world than ever before. Auto expert Michael Caudill says the sensors are seamlessly integrated into different parts of a vehicle, often unbeknownst to the driver. Once the data is received, the car uses lights, sounds and even seat vibration to draw attention to potential hazards.
For instance, Chevrolet's available Side Blind Zone Alert warns drivers when it may not be safe to change lanes.* It uses rear radar sensors to keep an eye on blind spots, and alerts drivers with small LED-lit symbols on side mirrors when a vehicle is detected in a blind spot. Meanwhile, Chevrolet's available Forward Collision Alert uses a camera-based system to detect when a crash might be imminent.
Motion sensors are everywhere these days, and are only getting better. Keep your eyes open for new gadgets with motion capture integration, as well as real-time uses of the technology in the near future.
*Before making a lane change, always check the Side Blind Zone Alert display, check the side and inside rearview mirrors, look over your shoulder for vehicles and hazards, and start the turn signal.