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Quantifying Human Behavior With Motion-Capture Technology

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USC faculty Sharon Carnicke and Shri Narayanan

USC faculty Sharon Carnicke (left) and Shri Narayanan prepare for actors' exercises in a laboratory at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Credit: University of Southern California

The University of Southern California (USC) is studying expressive human behavior through improvisation and motion-capture technology. "The Holy Grail is to be able to build technologies to mimic aspects of human behavior," says USC professor Shri Narayanan. He says such technologies could be used to help autistic children, create advanced methods for recognizing human speech and visual behavior, and quantify humor.

"The applications are limitless given the fundamental nature of the issue we're addressing—understanding human behavior," says USC professor Sharon Carnicke. Using actors equipped with motion-capture sensor suits, the researchers can record data for certain variables. As the actors move, the sensors record each movement, generating data that, when annotated, provides a method to quantify aspects of human communication and interaction.

"What matters are not the new insights they lead to about human behavior—but those that can be translated into useful applications," Narayanan says.

View a video of USC professors Sharon Carnicke and Shri Narayanan's use of performance-capture technology to explore human behavior.

From USC News
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