“Towards a laboratory instrument for motion analysis” by Baecker, Miller and Reeves

  • ©Ronald (Ron) Baecker, David Miller, and William (Bill) T. Reeves




    Towards a laboratory instrument for motion analysis



    Motion analysis is the systematic and usually quantitative study of the movements of humans, animals, organisms, cells, or other entities as recorded on movie film or video tape. Despite the utility of computer-aided motion analysis to many biological, social, and physical sciences, its role has been limited because it is so time-consuming and so expensive. Automated techniques can only be used on real images in very special cases; interactive techniques have involved laborious frame by frame operations. In recent years, Futrelle and Potel have revolutionized the process of interactive motion analysis by demonstrating how to digitize entire motions with a single sketch rather than with a sequence of operations on each constituent frame. However, their GALA-TEA system is applicable only to film and not to video tape records, and consists of equipment which cannot easily be engineered into a reliable and mass-producible laboratory instrument. The paper describes a prototype laboratory instrument for the interactive motion analysis of video tape records. The prototype includes a host PDP 11/45 computer, an experimental display processor called SPIWRIT, and a microprocessor-controlled video disk. SPIWRIT generates a computer-animated video representation of the phenomenon being analysed, and superimposes it on the actual video record being streamed from the video disk. SPIWRIT’s bit-slice microprogrammable display processor produces true animation on a colour raster display by decoding segmented display file images into alternate halves of a double frame buffer.


    1. Ackland, B. and Weste, N., “Real-time Animation Playback on a Frame Store Display System”, Computer Graphics, Vol. 14, No. 3, July 1980, pp. 182-188.
    2. Aisen, A.M., Al-Sadir, J., MacKay, S.A., Potel, M.J., Rubin, J.M., and Sayre, R.E., “Quantitative Ventricular Wall Motion Analysis of Biplane Coronary Angiograms”, Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computers in Cardiology, Williamsburg, Virgina, Oct. 1980.
    3. Badler, N. and Aggarwal, J. (Editors), Proceedings of the IEEE Workshop on Computer Analysis of Time-Varying Imagery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, April 1979.
    4. Baecker, R.M., “Interactive Computer-Mediated Animation,” Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Electrical Engineering, M.I.T., April 1969, reprinted as Project MAC TR-61.
    5. Baecker, R.M., “Picture-Driven Animation,” Proceedings of the Spring Joint Computer Conference, May 1969, pp. 273-288.
    6. Baecker, R.M. and Horsley, T., “Computer-Animated Simulation Models: A Tool for Transportation Planning,” Transportation Research Record 557, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington D.C., 1975, pp. 33-44.
    7. Baecker, R.M., Hauer, E., and Bunt, P.D., “Computer Animated Simulation of Taxi Dispatching Strategies,” Transportation Research Record 657, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington D.C., 1977, pp. 14-19.
    8. Baecker, R.M., Reeves, W., Covvey, H.D., Miller, D., and Galloway, D., “Interactive Computer-Aided Analysis of Cardiac Motion Sequences,” appears in (Badler 1979).
    9. Baecker, R.M., “Digital Video Display Systems and Dynamic Graphics”, Computer Graphics, Vol. 13, No. 2, August 1979, pp. 48-56.
    10. Baecker, R.M. and Duff, T.D.S., “A Programming Environment for Conversational Dynamic Modelling”, Proceedings of the 1979 Summer Computer Simulation Conference, July 1979, pp. 32-39.
    11. Bell System, “UNIX Time-Sharing System” (entire issue devoted to UNIX), The Bell System Technical Journal, Vol. 57, No. 6, Part 2, July-August 1978.
    12. Bresenham, J.E., “Algorithm for Computer Control of a Digital Plotter”, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 1965.
    13. Bresenham, J.E., “A Linear Algorithms for Incremental Digital Display of Circular Arcs”, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 20, No. 2, February 1977.
    14. Burtnyk, N. and Wein, M., “Computer Generated Key Frame Animation”, Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Vol. 80, March 1971, pp. 149-153.
    15. Donkoh, S., “Computer Analysis Helps Train Athletes”, CIPS Review, July/August 1980, pp. 14-15.
    16. Futrelle, R.P., “GALATEA, a Proposed System for Computer-aided Analysis of Movie Films and Videotape,” Quarterly Report No. 37, Institute of Computer Research, The University of Chicago, May 1, 1973.
    17. Futrelle, R.P., “GALATEA: Interactive Graphics for the Analysis of Moving Images,” Information Processing 74, Proceedings of the 1974 IFIP Conference, North-Holland Publishing Company, pp. 712-716.
    18. Futrelle, R.P. and Potel, M.J., “The System Design for GALATEA, An Interactive Real-time Computer Graphics System for Movie and Video Analysis,” Computers and Graphics, Vol. 1, pp. 115-121, Pergamon Press, 1975.
    19. Galloway, D.R., “The Modelling of Dynamic Digital Video Display Systems”, M.Sc. Thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, 1979.
    20. Hartley, M.G., Waterfall, R.C., and Fisher, A.J., “Preliminary Studies into the CAD of Pedestrian Circulation Areas”, Universities Transport Study Group, Ninth Annual Conference, City University, London, Jan. 1978, pp. 693-700.
    21. Hartley, M., “Designing Buildings for People to Move in”, New Scientist, 10 August 1978.
    22. Miller, D.H., “A Two-Dimensional Dynamic Video Display System”, M.A.Sc. Thesis, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, University of Toronto, September 1980.
    23. Miller, D.H., Vranesic, Z.G., and Baecker, R.M., “SPIWRIT—A Simple Real-Time Digital Video Display System”, in preparation, 1981.
    24. Potel, M.J., “Interacting with the Galatea Film Analysis System,” Computer Graphics, Vol. 10, No. 2, July 1976, pp. 52-59.
    25. Potel, M.J. and MacKay, S.A., “Preaggregate Cell Motion in Dictostelium”, Journal of Cell Science, Volume 36, 1979, pp. 281-309.
    26. Potel, M.J., Sayre, R.E., and Robertson, A., “A System for Interactive Film Analysis,” Computers in Biology and Medicine, Volume 9, 1979, pp. 237-256.
    27. Potel, M.J. and MacKay, S.A., “Graphics Input Tools for Interactive Motion Analysis,” Computer Graphics and Image Processing, Volume 14, 1980, pp. 1-23.
    28. Potel, M.J., “An Inexpensive Video-based Graphics System for Interactive Motion Analysis”, in preparation, 1981.
    29. Reeves, W.T., “A Device-Independent General-Purpose Graphics System in a Minicomputer Time-Sharing Environment”, Technical Report CSRG-93, Computer Systems Research Group, University of Toronto, August 1978.
    30. Reeves, W.T., “Quantitative Representations of Complex Dynamic Shape for Motion Analysis,” Ph.D. Thesis, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Toronto, September 1980.
    31. Reeves, W.T., “Inbetweening for Computer Animation Utilizing Moving Point Constraints”, appears in this issue.
    32. Tsotsos, J., Baecker, R.M., Mylopoulos, J., Reeves, W., Covvey, H.D., and Wigle, E.D., “An Interactive Knowledge-Based Approach to Ventricular Image Analysis,” Proceedings of the International Conference on Computers in Cardiology, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 1977.
    33. Tsotsos, J.K., “A Framework for Visual Motion Understanding”, Technical Report CSRG-114, Computer Systems Research Group, University of Toronto, June 1980.
    34. Winter, D.A., Greenlaw, R.K., and Hobson, D.A., “Television-Computer Analysis of Kinematics of Human Gait,” Computers and Biomedical Research, Volume 5, 1972, pp. 498-504.
    35. Woltring, H.J., “New Possibilities for Human Motion Studies by Real-Time Light Spot Position Measurement”, Biotelemetry, Volume 1, 1974, pp. 132-146.

ACM Digital Library Publication:

Overview Page: