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Monday, May 24, 2010

MEMS Go Hollywood: Analog Devices and Xsens Technologies Collaborate on 3D Motion Tracking and Capture

Analog Devices Inc. (Norwood, MA)., a global leader in high-performance semiconductors for signal-processing applications, and Xsens Technologies B.V., a leading supplier of 3D motion tracking products, have collaborated to develop real-time motion capture technology that is being used for character animation in major motion pictures, including the 2010 releases of "Alice in Wonderland" and the recently released No. 1 box office hit "Iron Man 2."

 Incorporated in a lightweight body suit used to record physical movement, the technology is enabling real-time, interactive special effects environments and breakthrough workflows that are transforming the way filmmakers and production teams plan and create movies. Leading video game developers also have adopted the motion capture technology for use in computer-generated character development.

By modifying the motion sensing technology ADI developed for video game play in several major game controllers, Analog Devices tailored a motion sensing solution for Xsens for its Xsens MVN motion capture suit. The lightweight, lycra MVN suit is equipped with 17 motion trackers containing more than 80 high-performance ADI iMEMS(R) motion sensors and 17 ADI Blackfin(R) DSPs (digital signal processors).

iMEMS motion sensors integrate ADI's proprietary MEMS sensor designs with its industry-leading, high-performance signal processing technology to provide unmatched motion sensing performance. Xsens' proprietary sensor fusion algorithms combine the motion sensor data with advanced biomechanical models to provide the system's high-fidelity full-body motion capture output.

The suit is enabling film production and pre-visualization(1) companies to bring their creative ideas to the big screen in new, more intuitive and visually compelling ways by providing an easy-to use, cost-efficient system for full-body human motion capture. Unlike previous CGI (computer-generated imagery) techniques, the Xsens MVN suit is more accurate and requires no external cameras, emitters, markers or special lighting. The wireless suit is also easily used in outdoor locations that require extensive freedom of movement -- from climbing and jumping to complex fight scenes.

"Analog Devices' iMEMS motion sensing technology provided the right level of performance for our MVN suit design objectives," says Casper Peeters, CEO of Xsens. "It's very exciting to see the game developers and special effects studios not only recognize the flexibility, quality and ease of use that Xsens MVN brings, but also its cost efficiency, bringing positive bottom line results."

"We are seeing the next wave of adoption driven by the heightened awareness of MEMS motion sensor capabilities," said Mark Martin, vice president, MEMS and Sensor Group, Analog Devices. "The first wave was driven by auto safety systems in the 1990s; the second wave by consumer products in the 2000s. During the next decade, a third wave will see the adoption of MEMS sensors in many medical, industrial instrumentation, and other innovative applications."

Martin added, "Xsens, which has a deep understanding of what motion signal processing is capable of, has demonstrated that our iMEMS motion sensors don't just improve the quality of game play they can actually be used in the development of the characters themselves."
ADI and Xsens Tapped by Hollywood and Game Developers

The Xsens MVN suit was used recently by pre-visualization studio The Third Floor, for animation work on "Alice In Wonderland" and "Iron Man 2." Other Hollywood visual effects studios that have adopted the MVN suit include Industrial Light & Magic, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Double Negative, which is known for its work on the films "Angels & Demons," and "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." The MVN suit also was adopted by Electronic Arts and Gearbox Software, which used the system for character animation in the "Borderlands" video game, and by Sony Computer Entertainment/Guerilla Games for "Killzone 2."

About Xsens
Xsens is a leading supplier of 3D motion tracking products based upon miniature MEMS inertial sensor technology. Since its inception in 2000, several thousands of motion sensors and motion capture solutions have successfully been deployed in areas such as 3D character animation, rehabilitation and sports science, and robot and camera stabilization. Customers include Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Ossur, Daimler, Saab Underwater Systems, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and many other companies and institutes throughout the world. Xsens is headquartered in Enschede, The Netherlands, and has an office in Los Angeles, CA, US. http://www.xsens.com

About Analog Devices
Innovation, performance, and excellence are the cultural pillars on which Analog Devices (ADI),  has built one of the longest standing, highest growth companies within the technology sector. Acknowledged industry-wide as the world leader in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, Analog Devices serves over 60,000 customers, representing virtually all types of electronic equipment. Celebrating over 40 years as a leading global manufacturer of high-performance integrated circuits used in analog and digital signal processing applications, Analog Devices is headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, with design and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. Analog Devices' common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "ADI" and is included in the S&P 500 Index. http://www.analog.com

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