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Epson Develops M-Tracer for Sports and Industrial Analysis

New wireless motion measurement system combines high-accuracy IMU sensor with motion analysis and graphics technology


TOKYO, Japan - Seiko Epson Corporation (“Epson,” TSE: 6724) today announced it had developed the M-Tracer*1, a sophisticated yet easy-to-use wireless motion measurement system that can be attached to a person or object to gather and analyze motion data from sports and other activities.

The M-Tracer is a self-contained system that combines a highly accurate and stable Epson inertial measurement unit*2 (IMU) with analytical 3D visualization software that processes kinetic motion data captured by the IMU. In addition to human motion analysis, the M-Tracer can be used to measure and analyze the motion of industrial equipment. Epson plans to start shipping development samples in early 2012.

Manufacturers commonly use gyroscopic sensors*3, accelerometers*4, and other sensors capable of measuring inertial motion in digital cameras and other electronic equipment. However, building such sensors into products to effectively use sensor functions requires extremely sophisticated arithmetic processing and specialized applications knowledge. For this reason, manufacturers have so far been reluctant to bring the benefits of highly accurate sensors to areas such as sports, rehabilitation, and industry.

“We developed the M-Tracer wireless motion measurement system to enable a broader spectrum of customers to take advantage of sensors,” said Ryuhei Miyagawa, deputy chief operating officer of Epson’s Microdevices Operations Division. “Motion measurement systems can be used in sports training, for example, to capture reliable data, to perform quantitative analysis, and to identify physical quantities and patterns peculiar to a motion. Athletes can increase motion efficiency by observing the intuitive visualization of stance, trajectory and other factors.”

Epson is developing the M-Tracer and its applications in collaboration with Associate Professor Yuji Ohgi and Project Associate Professor Ken Ota of the Keio Research Institute at the Shonan-Fujisawa Campus (SFC), a Japanese lab that conducts advanced research in sports biomechanics. Professor Ota will present a paper discussing the results of this research at the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers symposium “Sports and Human Dynamics 2011,” to be held at Kyoto University from October 31 to November 2, 2011. Epson will set up an exhibit featuring a prototype of the M-Tracer and other Epson IMU system products.


(*1) M-Tracer
An abbreviation of “motion tracer.” M-Tracer is a registered trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation in the U.S. and Japan.

(*2) Inertial measurement unit (IMU)
A device for sensing inertial motion that consists of angular rate sensors on three axes and accelerometers in three directions. IMUs are primarily used to measure and control the behavior of mobile objects.
Epson is developing extremely accurate, stable, and compact IMU products based on technology accumulated in the development of its original QMEMS quartz gyroscopic sensors. Click on the link below for details.
(New Epson Inertial Measurement Unit Offers World Class Energy Consumption and Size New window)

(*3) Gyroscopic (angular rate) sensor
A sensor that measures rotation angle (angular velocity) of an object per unit of time with respect to a reference axis.

(*4) Accelerometer
A sensor that measures changes of velocity per unit of time.

About Epson
Epson is a global imaging and innovation leader that is dedicated to exceeding the vision of customers worldwide through its compact, energy-saving, high-precision technologies, with a product line-up ranging from printers and 3LCD projectors for enterprise and the home, to sensors and other microdevices.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 78,000 employees in 99 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and the communities in which it operates.

About Keio Research Institute at SFC
The Keio Research Institute of SFC was established in 1996 as a base for advanced research for the 21st century, with laboratories attached to the Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance, Faculty of Policy Management, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, and Faculty of Nursing and Medical Care. The mission of the institute is to contribute to society by conducting advanced research through interdisciplinary scientific cooperation while fostering collaborative two-way relationships between education and research activities at SFC and related activities involving industry, government, and academia, both in Japan and internationally.


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