17 Jan 2023
Drones continually work in challenging airborne or subterranean environments, vital to the work of engineers, industrial professionals, the military and more. These autonomous vehicles carry out their work in the most efficient, safe and accurate manner, using active marker kits to track a drone’s movements.
With an array of equipment needed for the task, Motion Analysis Corporation is pleased to introduce a cost-effective mocap kit for drone use. The Vespa package is available now, and brings together lightweight, affordable cameras from our BaSix range, marker kits and mocap software – a setup to immediately begin tracking and analyzing drone movements without compromising the precision and performance needed for drone motion capture.
The collection includes a number of flagship Motion Analysis products in a ready-to-use kit for drone tracking: Cortex, 2 Firefly active marker kits, and 12 Lhotse cameras.
Cortex software is our most powerful and flexible motion capture solution yet. Working in such use cases as industrial machine applications, broadcasting, and even 3D animation for film pre-production, it combines movement tracking with advanced data capture for a complete mocap setup.
When utilizing drones, the controller needs to know where the autonomous object is and understand where it needs to head. Cortex, in conjunction with BaSix active markers, can capture and track a drone’s movement, processing the data in real-time to precisely identify its whereabouts. It also allows for the data capture of multiple objects simultaneously. Cortex similarly helps to modify and re-calibrate drones in development for maximum tracking accuracy.
A new version of Cortex has just been released, further improving the capabilities of the complete mocap kit for drone use.
Working with most Motion Analysis cameras is the Firefly, our active marker kit for rigid objects. It is ideal for drone tracking and used by data scientists and researchers, as well as for investigative work or recreational use. It is fully customizable to suit the needs of the drone engineer and handy for practical applications with its lightweight frame, optional on/off switch, near-infra-red emitters for motion tracking, and removable LED mounts and rechargeable battery.
When the Firefly is attached to a moving object, Cortex software allows for 6 Degrees of Freedom tracking. This means that if only one camera can see the drone, it will still continue to identify its position and path by tracking the movement of the Firefly’s small active markers.
Cameras can be viewed as the tracking devices for drone movements, following the Firefly’s LEDs. The Lhotse camera is the best option for active marker tracking in industrial uses; working with more than 8 active marker rigs, it can cover a larger volume of people and objects and works in sync with Cortex software. The Vespa package offers 12 Lhotse cameras, but setups can be upgraded to include up to 36 Lhotse cameras if needed.
Both flexible and affordable, the collection is ideal for a range of industries and career levels – whether for newcomers stepping into the world of drone tracking in the new year, or for existing practitioners to upgrade current systems or to supplement new facilities with cutting-edge technology.
The Firefly kits and Lhotse cameras in the Vespa package both make use of active markers, which are more useful for tracking robotic or autonomous objects such as drones than passive markers.
Passive markers are retroreflective, needing to reflect a light source for movement to be identified. For instance, a human actor’s mocap bodysuit acts like a high-vis jacket. A lens camera, surrounded by bright ring lights, will take a shot when the bodysuit’s passive ball markers reflect that light. This requires a high amount of energy and must be calibrated perfectly for each element to synchronize properly.
Active markers instead rely on an internal light source and do not need so much synchronization power. The Firefly’s active markers, the LEDs, do not have to illuminate a room, but emit enough light to be captured by cameras without the need for highly powerful ring lights.
Perfect for smaller cameras such as the Lhotse, all Vespa package equipment for drone use can be set up and calibrated easily according to the user’s needs. Only an additional laptop is needed to start drone tracking.
Motion Analysis has already worked with esteemed institutions to carry out research work using drone tracking software. PhD student Chiara Ercolani at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne investigated 3D gas source localization using drones, Motion Analysis Kestrel cameras and Cortex. A flying autonomous object was utilized in a wind tunnel facility, performing under various environmental conditions. It aimed to see how drones can identify and solve gas leaks in industrial facilities to save lives, with 3D motion tracking needed to capture 3D gas dispersion.
Our work has seen motion capture systems work for a range of weird and wonderful uses, including analyzing basketball shoe performance, animating video game characters, and redesigning manufacturing plants. Motion Analysis is always upgrading our software and hardware to suit the motion tracking needs for studios of any size.
This is no different for drone companies, with the Vespa package looking to expand drone tracking capabilities to practitioners of any kind. At a cost-effective price, the Vespa package offers a full setup to start, and build up, the best mocap kit for drone use.
If you would like to find out more about the Vespa package and Cortex software, chat with our team here.