Before the link, an explanation:
Computerised judge keeps dancers on their toesOkay, now the video: http://www.youtube.com/p.swf?video_id=GG8Su_4ulKU&eurl=http%3A//www.newscientisttech.com/article/dn9659-computerised-judge-keeps-dancers-on-their-toes.html&iurl=http%3A//sjl-static16.sjl.youtube.com/vi/GG8Su_4ulKU/2.jpg&t=OEgsToPDskLEg3R17labjd_c1QcpZoCW
* 13:03 02 August 2006
* NewScientist.com news service
* Celeste Biever, Boston
Dancers can sharpen up their best moves or compete against one another for points using a motion analysis system unveiled on Monday.
The system, aptly named Dance Dance Dance (DDD), displays dance positions on a screen in front of a person, for them to follow in time to music. It awards points after assessing their ability to correctly mimic each silhouetted shape.
This video demonstration (Windows Media format, 6.48MB), shows creator Ming Yang-Yu of the Communications & Multimedia Lab at National Taiwan University, demonstrating it at the SIGGRAPH 2006 conference in Boston, US.
The system was inspired by Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), a video game that illuminates squares on the ground in front of a player in time to music. The "dancer" must then follow the sequence of illuminated squares correctly with their feet to gain points.
Although DDR has proven massively popular, Yu points out that it can only guide a person's feet. "With our system, you use your whole body," he says.
To use DDD, a person must stand with their back to an illuminated white screen. "We want to increase the contrast between the human and the background to make the image processing easier," explains Yu's colleague Jeng-Sheng Yeh. When the music starts, the silhouetted body shapes appear on another screen in front of the dancer.
Software then analyses a video feed of both the dancer and the silhouette. The footage is sliced, vertically and horizontally, to create "pixels" that can be analysed individually.
By assessing the brightness of each pixel the software can tell how closely a person's body shape matches that of each silhouette. If the two are similar, then the software declares a match and awards the player a point. At the end of the song, the player receives a final score. So far the team has choreographed dance moves to 11 tracks.
The researchers believe the system could have more practical applications in the future. They say it could be used to automatically translate sign language, for example, although Yeh concedes that it would be a challenge to do this without the illuminated white background.New Scientist Tech