Accurately tracking 3D motion is not an easy prospect. On one hand, you have the way that most movie studios do it, by outfitting actors in jumpsuits, and covering them with reflective dots to map key points of motion. Or there workarounds, like using a Kinect sensor, which has problems with accuracy or complex scenes. But a team at Carnegie Mellon has developed an alternative method—called the Panoptic Studio, it’s a dome, outfitted with 480 cameras, that can track up to 100,000 points in motion.
You can see the results in the video below, and what’s especially impressive is how well it manages to deal with incredibly complex scenes. It starts simple, with just a single individual swinging a baseball bat, but then rapidly increases in complexity to multiple people circling each other, people playing games together, or even tracking confetti as it moves through the room.
The Panoptic Studio itself is a two story geodesic dome, but all the cameras are made from off the shelf parts, which means it should be fairly easy to upgrade with new technology as it becomes available.
While doing motion tracking inside of a fully enclosed room may seem restrictive, being able to ditch the jumpsuits and just have people move around the space could be a major advance in 3D motion tracking technology—and could mean a lot for the future of tracking movement.