Transforming Motion

Movella captures motion in its most precise, lifelike form

An interview with Jeroen Weijts, Director Operations & Hein Beute, Director Product Management at Movella

In the days of “IoT” and automation, being able to capture and control motion is a critical capability for dozens of industries to master. In learning to do so, they’re joining a field the entertainment and medical industry previously took pioneering steps in. While we’ve likely all seen examples of motion capture in movies and video games – the applications beyond it are enormous.

Whether it’s studying movement-related illness, ergonomics at the workplace, designing the next generation of autonomous robots and vehicles – or indeed simply sending Lionel Messi into a lifelike half-field dribble on FIFA, Neways customer Movella delivers the sensors and solutions that make it all possible. We spoke to Jeroen Weijts and Hein Beute about Movella’s origins, what makes their solutions special, and the many – many – applications in which they can be used.

Compared to other technologies, our solutions invite by far the most “life-like” experience and thus the most true-to-life data.

Can you tell me a bit about Movella’s origin story? What sort of products do you produce today?

Movella, previously Xsens, is a spinoff of the University of Twente. Our founders set out to do something that was truly innovative at the turn of the century: make a runner’s watch equipped with an inertial sensor. Sadly, big players such as Adidas and Polar quickly showed up and crowded them out of their initial market. But the primary technology stayed: using sensors to capture movement in great detail. Our founders quickly realized that while one sensor made for a novel new runner’s watch, two sensors could capture an angle of a human arm or leg – with 17 an entire body’s movement could be captured. Capturing movement, human or otherwise, became the new business model.

Today, the sensors we sell combine input from accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, GPS and barometers to capture as fine a picture as possible. We sell our products across three segments: Entertainment, Health & Sports, and Automation & Mobility, and we enable motion capture for actors, athletes, workers, and patients; but also for drones, various unmanned vehicles, and even satellites.

What makes your solutions different from others available in the market?

At Movella we deliver products for when measurement has to be as precise, and “lifelike” as technically possible, and we achieve that in two ways.

Firstly, we have made at least three critical innovations in the software and firmware. For example, we pride ourselves on the continuously improved algorithm we have to bring input from various sensors together reliably and consistently: something we call “Sensor Fusion”. From there, the input is interpreted through our self-designed biomechanical model. In addition, since 2018 we have an algorithm that compensates for the natural “drift” that occurs in gyroscopes. When determining heading, previously the only way to compensate for such drift was through magnetometers, but these are disturbed by metal objects or construction materials and thus never homogenous. We developed an algorithm that compensates for this. We are now “magnetically immune”, an innovation that drove sales up by over 30% in the first year alone.

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