Masses of people or virtual figures are more and more realistically animated in Hollywood films. The process behind that is called Motion Capturing – and it can also be used for locating objects within intralogistic systems. In the Innovation Laboratory Hybrid Services in Logistics the largest facility of its kind was recently put into operation. The researchers can make a pioneering contribution to the cooperation between human and technology in a Social Networked Industry – Haci Bayhan is showcasing the spectacular system.
The term Motion Capturing – short MoCap – refers to the process of capturing the motion of an object, transforming motion into a format suitable for computers and transferring information to a virtual image. Behind that lies the assumption that bodies or objects consist of several, stiff parts and that they are linked to each other through connecting elements. That way, the form of human beings, animals or mechanical requisites can be parameterised and recognized as organization form (e.g. human skeleton). The paths of motion are determined through markers fixed to the object. The first systems were implemented in the clinical environment to analyse the human gait. Later, the procedure found its way into the entertainment industry and conquered Hollywood.
The research centre of the Innovation Laboratory includes a MoCap system with 38 cameras tracking up to 100 objects at the same time. Location and position are determined accurately to the millimetre with up to 300 pictures per second. In other scientific disciplines, such approaches are already practiced successfully: The College of Engineering of the Boston University set up a system with 40 cameras that facilitates a real-time tracking of robot vehicles in the city. At MAST-Lab of Glasgow University, a system is installed with 18 cameras that serves tracking different devices.
Basically, the system offers the following possibilities:
• Motion capturing in real time. The Motion Capturing system provides an exact 3D localisation and data mining by tracking technical devices or humans in fictional scenarios. A laser projection system facilitates a clear showcase of how which objects communicate – of course, in real time.
• Robot training. By means of data of human processes – for example during order picking in the warehouse – robots can be programmed in a way that they exactly reproduce this activity. Due to the high accuracy of the system, a robot hand modelled on the human being can be trained. For this purpose, each limb of the human hand is filmed while grabbing and handling different things.
• Contribution to industrial safety. The tests with the Motion Capturing system make a significant contribution to the Social Networked Industry: Analysing motion processes within intelligent systems helps to improve industrial safety of employees – in particular the barrier-free cooperation between human being and technology.
The MoCap system is only one of many innovative systems used in the research centre of the Innovation Laboratory. There are loads of different sensors in the hall floor arranged in a continuous and grid-type way that serve localising and routing dynamic logistics objects. A measurement system based on radio frequency integrated in the hall construction helps to produce, record and analyse more information. Devices with decentral controls communicate via radio, and implemented machine learning lets machines and transport goods become more autonomous. Further systems, like an augmented reality solution currently being planned for the hall that is supposed to help people during the order picking process, are gradually supplemented.
This infrastructure supports the research at the Dortmund science location with a test field that opens many possibilities for examining man-machine interactions and gives reason to expect numerous new research results.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Haci Bayhan, scientific employee at TU Dortmund University, is Head of Research Centre in the project Innovationlab Hybrid Services in Logistics.
MORE ABOUT THE TOPIC
• The Innovationlab Hybrid Services in Logistics is an interdisciplinary research project in which technological innovations are developed for a Social Networked Industry. The focus is on human-technology interaction. So-called showcases - which are organised in the five fields of trading, production logistics, transport, maintenance and virtual training - guarantee that innovations are transformed into hybrid services. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is sponsoring the project with a total of 10 million Euros over a period of three years. On the one hand, the innovationlab is intended to strengthen Dortmund’s pioneering role in services and logistics, and, on the other, to accelerate the acceptance and implementation of technical solutions in the context of Industry 4.0. If you are interested, you can find more English information and professional contributions of the Innovationlab Hybrid Services in Logistics at www.innovationlab-logistics.com.
• A photo-realistic 3D animation offers unique insights into the world of the research centre. Click here to get to the film.