Motion Tracking Systems Make Simulations More 'Believable'

By Erwin, Sandra I. | National Defense, October 1999 | Go to article overview

Motion Tracking Systems Make Simulations More 'Believable'


Erwin, Sandra I., National Defense


Simulation and modeling technologies today increasingly are making digital environments more realistic for users, experts agree. But, to make simulations more vivid than ever, engineers are relying on sophisticated pieces of hardware and software that enable computers to "see and understand" motion in a three-dimensional world. These are known as motion trackers.

Industry experts say motion trackers are critical to simulators because the most desirable simulations are those that are believable. In military applications, that is an important quality because simulations are expected to replicate live combat as accurately as possible.

Motion trackers in a pilot helmet, for example, can track the position of the head so that a portion of the screen can be enhanced-based on where the pilot is looking.

"Tracking systems have been holding people [in the simulation industry] back, no matter how good the graphics and the computers are," says Charles W Miller. He is chief executive officer and president of InterSense Inc., Burlington, Mass. The firm provides motion-tracking systems primarily for simulation applications. …

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