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Development of Motion Analysis Software for Dynamics Education

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session


Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.536.1 - 26.536.14



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Paper Authors


Hirohito Kobayashi University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.S.
Waseda University, Tokyo, JAPAN, B.S.

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Development of Motion Analysis software for Dynamics EducationHands-on mechanical testing is an essential part of Mechanics education. However, mechanicaltesting requires significant financial investment in laboratory space, testing machine, andmaterial acquisition. Furthermore, even a simple mechanical testing can become time-consuming and even disrupt the class progression. Hence, frequent hands-on mechanical testingcannot be achieved easily in mechanics courses. As a substitute for hands-on mechanical testing,a numerical simulation method such as a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) may be employed as“virtual” mechanics testing laboratory. Today, a wide range of commercial FEA software, suchas ANSYS® and STIMULIA® (formerly known as ABAQUSR®) are available. Nevertheless,“virtual” mechanics testing via FEA software will not be able to provide a hands-on experiencebecause of data measurement and data error assessment are often required in the real-worldengineering. In addition, dynamics (Engineering Mechanics), a key part of mechanics education,cannot be easily simulated with FEA.The aim of this project is to develop a virtual mechanics laboratory (software) using digitalcamera and distal image analysis algorithms that have matured and are available at very low costnowadays. The setup of this virtual mechanics laboratory is the instructor/students first capturedigital video images of moving/deforming objects. Subsequently, the kinematic informationsuch as the position, velocity, and acceleration of moving object will be assessed by students inclass with the virtual mechanics laboratory, coded in Matlab®, that conducts 1) digital imageprocessing and 2) motion analysis via digital image pixel/vector tracking. The major function ofthis software is to provide a pseudo-hands-on virtual mechanics analysis experience to assist themechanics courses such as dynamics and of material. Currently, the first module, the dynamicsmodule, is completed and tested through dynamics course project in the classes I teach. Thesecond module, the mechanics of material module, will be completed by spring of 2015 for in-class trial.The motion analysis with dynamics module (Fig.1) requires only four simple steps. They are 1)Video Import feature, 2) Object size calibration, 3) Point tracking, and 4) Vector rotation/stretchevaluation.The deduced data can be checked with video play (Fig.2) feature and save as video format orspread sheet (MS EXCEL) format.As the initial trial project, students are expected to conducted biomechanics (impact) analysis onthe process of soccer player kicking ball.Figure 1 Overview of Dynamics Module functions and work flow. Figure 2 Data review with video “Play” function.

Kobayashi, H. (2015, June), Development of Motion Analysis Software for Dynamics Education Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23875

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