Doctors have used motion capture technology from the Avatar films to diagnose people with various neurological diseases. The system uses artificial intelligence to analyze movement data.

The animations in series and films are constantly evolving. While you could still clearly distinguish between animated and real scenes a few years ago, the boundaries between reality and fiction are becoming increasingly blurred these days.

The latest Avatar film recently proved that. Using so-called motion capture technology, algorithms transferred the actors’ movements to corresponding character models.

In Great Britain it has now been possible for the first time to make use of this film technology in the medical field. To do this, researchers used cameras and the same algorithm to measure the movements of patients with genetic diseases. First results appear promising.

Diagnosis still takes a long time

Specifically, this case is about patients with Friedreich’s ataxia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, two diseases that severely restrict the movement of those affected. According to the researchers, the system can also be applied to any other disease affecting the brain, nervous system, heart, lungs, muscles or bones.

In the clinical environment, doctors have so far been diagnosing diseases using various measurements. The patients first have to perform certain movement sequences. The researchers then collect their data over a certain period of time.

However, the approach sometimes takes several years. Avatar’s motion capture technology speeds up and simplifies diagnosis.

Motion capture technology as a diagnostic tool

In the case of Friedreich’s ataxia, for example, the system made a diagnosis after around twelve months. In the case of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a course could be predicted after about six months. For this to work, the algorithm continuously takes samples and documents them using extremely precise data points.

For comparison: a doctor needs about twice to three times as long. This allows patients to be diagnosed and treated more quickly. Because the sooner the condition is clear, the faster the quality of life of those affected can be improved again. However, it is not yet entirely clear whether the system will catch on. But it definitely has potential.

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