MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Aug. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Medibotics' U.S. patent 7,980,141 for Motion Recognition Clothing™ (MRC) has been approved. MRC is an innovative technology for translating body motion into computer-readable signals that could power the next generation of full-body game controllers. The market for translating body motion into computer-readable signals is already very large. For example, over 10 million units of an existing camera-based full-body game controller system have been sold. With further development, MRC could be used for a variety of applications including not only computer gaming, but also virtual reality in general, sports training, medical therapy, virtual exercise, weight management, and telerobotics.
Motion Recognition Clothing™ (MRC) integrates air-filled or fluid-filled tubes into clothing that longitudinally spans multiple body joints and then uses changes in the pressures within these tubes, as they bend, to measure the motion of these body joints. Multiple tubes can span each joint. The results capture human posture and motion. Although MRC is not yet a commercially-available product, preliminary prototyping results are promising. Medibotics has tested different tube diameters, wall thicknesses, durometers, and materials (eg. latex, silicone, EPDM, polyurethane) and found that non-linear functions of changes in tube pressures are highly correlated with changes in the angles of the human joints that the tubes span. Medibotics also measured the dynamic gait of a knee in motion during a 1-MPH walk, 2-MPH walk, 5-MPH run, and 6-MPH run. They achieved gait results that are similar to those in the biomechanics literature.
The use of Motion Recognition Clothing™ (MRC) technology for full-body game control could have several advantages over current camera-based full-body game control technology. For example, when used with a mobile transmitter, MRC can be portable. MRC could be used almost anywhere… jogging outdoors, playing golf, and even swimming. MRC does not require that users to remain in front of a stationary camera. MRC can also be used with multiple users who interact and overlap. MRC does not require a direct line-of-sight between users and a camera. Also, MRC can measure small-scale body motion, such as that of fingers, in a manner that is not possible with camera-based systems that only recognize large-scale skeletal configurations. In general, MRC can have advantages over other competing motion recognition technologies in terms of: freedom of motion; ambulatory use; washable clothing; freedom from occlusion; real time use; lower cost; body safety; durability; and high/low motion scale. However, one motion recognition sub-market in which MRC would not likely compete is in high-end "Motion Capture" systems used for animating figures in motion pictures (such as Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings"). Film makers spend a lot for high-precision systems with multiple cameras and facial motion recognition technology. It is unlikely that MRC would provide the level of facial motion precision required by this sub-market.
There remain several challenges in the further development and commercialization of MRC. Although MRC may work well for close-fitting clothing, it may work less well with loose-fitting clothing whose location over joints shifts as a person moves. This may be addressed by incorporating multiple tubes around joints and using pattern recognition software to identify shifts in clothing location. Another challenge for MRC is calibrating measurements to ensure accuracy for different people (and potentially each time the same person takes it off and puts it on). Another challenge is maintaining measurement accuracy while making tube size smaller so that the clothing is non-obtrusive. These challenges are not insurmountable, but they will require more work in order to launch MRC as a successful commercial product. Medibotics welcomes inquiries from manufacturers and investors in the fields of computer gaming, sports training, medical technology, and/or telerobotics who may be interested in partnering with Medibotics in the next stage of product development for Motion Recognition Clothing™.
Medibotics LLC is an innovative Minnesota-based technology company with an intellectual property portfolio that includes: ambulatory human motion recognition technology (including Motion Recognition Clothing™); wearable technology for energy generation from human motion; flexible human-to-computer interface devices (including Blob Mouse™), and sound-masking devices and systems for enhancing sleep (including HushBand™). The CEO of Medibotics is Robert A. Connor, Ph.D., an inventor on over 40 patents and patent applications.
Media Contact: Robert Connor, Medibotics LLC, 612-339-1442, info@Medibotics.com
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SOURCE Medibotics LLC