Scientists capture invisible motion in humans and objects

Feb 28, 2013
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Scientists capture invisible motion in humans and objects

When you take a look at someone that's sitting still, you may actually think they're sitting still, but they're actually still moving slightly thanks to their pulse. The pulse is strong enough to move our body even when we try to sit perfectly still. Scientists at MIT have come up with a process Eulerian Video Magnification, and it essentially amplifies movement in humans and objects.

The amplification process exaggerates the tiny movements made by humans and different objects in order to see a completely new world of movements. The process shows you blood pumping in and out of a human's face to show that the person's heart is beating, and it even shows a sleeping baby breathing even though we wouldn't be able to see it well with the naked eye.

The process is done by taking each frame of a video and analyzing every pixel of every frame. It then monitors the pixel's changes from frame-to-frame to capture slight movement. The pixel reveals very subtle color changes, and with the magnification and amplification process, the computer program can exaggerate those colors just a bit to amplify the subtle movement.

The MIT team is hoping this process will be a useful diagnostic tool in the medical field for pulse monitoring and seeing where blood flows in the body to look for asymmetries. The technology could also be used for newborn infants to monitor their vital signs without hooking up various machines that could annoy the baby. For now, the team has released the open source code for non-commercial purposes and they're hoping that the technology takes off soon.


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