The M-Tracer is a self-contained system that combines a highly accurate and stable Epson inertial measurement unit*2 (IMU) with analytical 3D visualization software that processes kinetic motion data captured by the IMU. In addition to human motion analysis, the M-Tracer can be used to measure and analyze the motion of industrial equipment. Epson plans to start shipping development samples in early 2012.
Manufacturers commonly use gyroscopic sensors*3, accelerometers*4, and other sensors capable of measuring inertial motion in digital cameras and other electronic equipment. However, building such sensors into products to effectively use sensor functions requires extremely sophisticated arithmetic processing and specialized applications knowledge. For this reason, manufacturers have so far been reluctant to bring the benefits of highly accurate sensors to areas such as sports, rehabilitation, and industry.
"We developed the M-Tracer wireless motion measurement system to enable a broader spectrum of customers to take advantage of sensors," said Ryuhei Miyagawa, deputy chief operating officer of Epson's Microdevices Operations Division. "Motion measurement systems can be used in sports training, for example, to capture reliable data, to perform quantitative analysis, and to identify physical quantities and patterns peculiar to a motion. Athletes can increase motion efficiency by observing the intuitive visualization of stance, trajectory and other factors."
Epson is developing the M-Tracer and its applications in collaboration with Associate Professor Yuji Ohgi and Project Associate Professor Ken Ota of the Keio Research Institute at the Shonan-Fujisawa Campus (SFC), a Japanese lab that conducts advanced research in sports biomechanics. Professor Ota will present a paper discussing the results of this research at the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers symposium "Sports and Human Dynamics 2011," to be held at Kyoto University from October 31 to November 2, 2011. Epson will set up an exhibit featuring a prototype of the M-Tracer and other Epson IMU system products.