Advanced science.  Applied technology.


SwRI launches Markerless Motion Capture Joint Industry Project for biomechanics research

April 7, 2021 – Southwest Research Institute has launched a joint industry project (JIP) to advance markerless 3D analysis of biomechanics for sports and medical applications.

The Markerless Motion Capture Joint Industry Project (M2CJ) will leverage the SwRI-developed BIOCAP™ technology. BIOCAP measures human motion using machine vision, artificial intelligence (AI) deep learning, sensor fusion and biomechanical modeling. Professional and collegiate sports teams, in addition to military and medical personnel, have used BIOCAP for optimizing human performance.

“M2CJ will enable cost-effective precompetitive research and system development through a collaborative forum,” said Kase Saylor, codirector of SwRI’s Human Performance Initiative, which developed the BIOCAP system. “Industry professionals can get more insights by using one of the most accurate markerless biomechanics tools available.”

Markerless motion capture leverages computer vision algorithms to circumvent the tedious process of attaching physical body markers to a human subject to capture 3D motion data for biomechanical analysis in research, clinical and sport science applications.

SwRI’s BIOCAP is a portable system featuring a user-friendly graphical interface. It uses off-the-shelf cameras and custom machine learning algorithms to quantify musculoskeletal biomechanical performance related to walking, running, sports and other precise physical movements.

BIOCAP generates large amounts of biomechanically accurate training data using a combination of biomechanics and machine vision techniques. A cross-validation artificial intelligence training and characterization method quantifies the system’s accuracy.

“BIOCAP is a highly accurate technology that uses biomechanically informed models instead of the more commonly used animation-based posed model approach,” said Dr. Dan Nicolella, codirector of SwRI’s Human Performance Initiative, who leads biomechanical research for the Institute.

Professional and collegiate sports teams consider their biomechanical analytics highly proprietary. This secrecy creates challenges in verifying the accuracy of certain biomechanics systems. M2CJ will address this by focusing on precompetitive technology development, leaving the analytics to participants and their respective organizations.

“The JIP will bring together a community of professionals to facilitate sharing participant experiences and insights as well as receiving early knowledge of new technological developments in markerless biomechanics analysis,” Nicolella said. “This will give participants the confidence and expertise to further develop their own advanced, proprietary analytics.”

The M2CJ’s objective is to further develop and refine the BIOCAP system for use in nonlaboratory settings, including high-performance training facilities and operational environments. M2CJ will also promote technical interaction in the biomechanics and sports science community, particularly in developing and implementing new state-of-the-art methods for biomechanical assessment.

The cost to join the M2CJ is $25,000 per year for a duration of three years. Program participants will receive a license for the latest version of BIOCAP, including the latest features and updates, and will have a primary role in selecting new features for development. Program participation fees are lower than commercial licenses for traditional marker-based motion capture systems.

A multidisciplinary team of computer scientists and biomechanical engineers developed BIOCAP and M2CJ through SwRI’s Human Performance Initiative. SwRI is an industry leader in offering consortia and joint industry projects that advance research benefitting industries spanning deep sea to deep space.

For more information, visit the Markerless Motion Capture Laboratory or contact Robert Crowe+1 210 522 4630, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166.