Motion-Capture Animation Shows Olympic Athletes Swimming Like Dolphins

by Thilaka Ravi on Aug 12 2012 2:45 PM

Motion-Capture Animation Shows Olympic Athletes Swimming Like Dolphins
Motion-capture animation technique has been tried with Olympic athletes by researchers - taping sensors to swimmer Dana Vollmer and diver Abby Johnston to give them computer-generated effects much like the blue Pandorans in 'Avatar'.
Researchers from New York University set up a company called Manhattan Mocap, and shot video of the athletes from myriad angles.

They produced some beautiful pieces of computer animation - but the real purpose was to see how the swimmers moved through the water and how they could improve.

Motion-capture animation by Manhattan Mocap shows how Olympic swimmer Dana Vollmer moves through the water much as a dolphin does.

"I'm a very visual learner; I watch a lot of video," ABC News quoted Johnston as saying.

"So I'm excited to see different angles, and I think that will enhance my training and give me a different perspective on what goes on while I'm diving," she said.

They found that while swimmers need a strong kick and powerful stroke, what really matters is how they move through the water.

Vollmer, they concluded, swims a bit like a dolphin, shimmying along with very little drag.