Dentsu Announces the Development of New MotionScore Technology for Programming and Playing Back the Movements of Robots and Computer-Generated Characters

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March 9, 2016

Dentsu Inc. (Tokyo: 4324; ISIN: JP3551520004; President & CEO: Tadashi Ishii; Head Office: Tokyo; Capital: 74,609.81 million yen) announced today that Dentsu Lab Tokyo, a production studio that has been exploring new forms of expression derived from technology, has developed MotionScore (patent pending), a new technology that can digitize the movements of robots and computer-generated characters, and allow the resulting motion data to be flexibly and efficiently programmed and played back.

With MotionScore, instead of recording and controlling the movements of a robot or computer-generated character as a series of visual frames like a flipbook, a user can encode their poses to match musical tempos so that the movements can be recorded and controlled like notes in a musical score.

Specifically, by compiling motion data in sync with background music, the user can integrate MotionScore with musical data in MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) format. This enables the movements of the robot or character to be played back perfectly in time with the tempo of the music, even if the user switches to music with a different tempo. As a result, movements can be programmed more efficiently and with many more possibilities. For instance, robots or computer-generated characters can be programmed to dance in groups during live performances, a very difficult operation until now, and the arrangement of the dancing moves can be improvised by dance jockeys (people who play choreographed dance videos onstage like disk jockeys play music). MotionScore also has potential to be used for teaching dance based on professional-level choreography.

MotionScore is already set to be used by a DJ equipment manufacturer in what will be its first commercial application. It will also be on display at South by Southwest (SXSW)--one of the world's largest trade fairs for IT devices--held in Austin, Texas, from March 11 to 20. MotionScore was entered in the event's ReleaseIt at SXSW international competition, and has been selected as a finalist--a first for a Japanese company. (The final judging is scheduled for March 11.)

During SXSW, a demonstration of MotionScore will be conducted at the SXSW Trade Show held from March 13 to 16, where it will be used to make a computer-generated character dance while working in tandem with equipment made by Yamaha Corporation that detects the tempo from audio data in real-time.

Recognizing that MotionScore is not limited to music-related applications, Dentsu intends to explore its potential applications in the field of healthcare in the future. The new technology is particularly relevant for human augmentation technologies such as walking assistive devices, since it can flexibly reproduce the pace of walking and other human movements.  

Looking forward, Dentsu plans to form partnerships with equipment and software manufacturers that are involved in the motion control of robots and computer-generated characters, as it works to further develop and evolve MotionScore while promoting its wider usage in society.

An informational video about MotionScore has been made available on the following website: http://www.motionscore.com/




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