Millennium Bridge

Dr Joan Lasenby has recently been involved in a research project to develop an optical motion capture system. As a mathematician, she is involved in the application of geometric algebra to engineering problems. She explains: "Commercial motion capture systems already exist, but these tend to be rather expensive and require many cameras to work. They have been used for some medical applications but perhaps more famously in the motion picture industry. Some of the crowd scenes in 'Titanic' were produced by computer simulation using a motion capture system. We wanted a cheap but robust system that we could use for testing new computer vision algorithms."

Her team set about the problem and developed a system using three cameras that works effectively. Two PhD students were involved: Maurice Ringer and Sahan Gamage. A fourth year student used the system to classify 'gait'. This has medical application in that, for instance certain types of disease such as diabetes can affect gait, and by classifying the changes that occur in a scientific manner, the symptoms can be assessed and the efficacy of treatment judged.