Vicon is already well-known and respected for both motion capture cameras and virtual reality endeavors, so its next step — augmented reality — probably won’t come as a shock to anyone. But professional athletes, trainers, and their teams may be particularly interested in the company’s latest development: an update to the Capture.U motion analysis app that lets users measure, visualize, and improve athletic performance as it’s happening.
As its name suggests, Capture.U is designed to capture human motion inputs from Vicon’s Blue Trident sensors, turning the data into actionable insights into the wearer’s performance. Thanks to integration with Apple’s ARKit 3.0, the iOS version of Capture.U 1.1 can overlay a point skeleton or kinematic model on top of video of an athlete, combining live sensor readings with the wearer’s actual motions for immediate analysis. Users can create videos with separate or overlaid data in 2D and/or 3D, as well as export data as PDF reports.
Vicon claims that Capture.U is the world’s first tracking platform with the real-time AR visualization feature, which it expects will benefit sports scientists and athletes alike. As the software is free to download for iOS devices, all users need are the sensors and an iPhone or iPad, which Vicon expects will make the solution popular with everything from professional to grass-roots sports teams, though it’s worth noting that the sensors each cost $1,600.
Tracking live kinematic data, joint positions, and joint angles, the app can work as a pure recorder and player, or as a performance analyzer that issues audio alerts based on the user’s position — say, every time a foot, hand, or baseball bat stretches past a certain point. Coaches will be able to track basketball players’ jump heights and speeds, quarterbacks’ throw power and force, and swimmers’ velocities over laps; physiologists and trainers could monitor the specific angles of baseball players’ counter rotations.
Users can pair anywhere from 2 to 20 Blue Trident sensors, which work at a maximum range of 24 meters and capture accelerations at up to 200g. The number of simultaneously supported sensors depends on both the specific type of tracking, as well as the use case and budget. AR visualization is capped at only 2 sensors, with 3-axis rather than 6- or 12-axis support, and peak capture rates of 562Hz (low-G) or 800Hz (high-G), half the sensors’ otherwise supported rates.
Capture.U 1.1 is available for now for iPads and iPhones in the App Store. An updated version 1.1.1 of the companion Capture.U Desktop app can be downloaded for Windows PCs and Macs here, including deep data dive and export features.