We all know the 3-D body suits from behind-the-scenes footage of Hollywood movies. Now body suits are going to be put to use for healthcare research and improvements of sporting activities as well. Researchers from the University of Sunderland in the UK are using a body suit because it allows them to take 3-D motion capture out of the lab.
The suit, called MVN BIOMECH from Xsens out of Enschede, The Netherlands, is a 3-D human kinematic, camera-less measurement system with integrated small tracking sensors placed on the joints. Each sensor on the suit consists of three components: an accelerometer, magnetometers and a gyroscope. All together it gives information on each of the joints, the body segments between the joints and the 3-D movements. The technology sends the information a computer using a wireless signal which is then reconstructed into movements on the screen.
The suit is certainly not cheap and it’s probably the main reason why up until now it has only been used in the movie industry and the military. However, the research team and the university consider this new piece of equipment as an investment for future research projects. An example of ongoing research is a project to help figure out how nurses can lift patients safely into a hospital bed without straining themselves. Future research will also be sport related, such as improving the efficiency of wheelchair-bound athletes.
Product page: MVN BIOMECH