Manual Motion Study




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As part of our Motus Project we needed a way to track everyone that moved through the lobby at Autodesk Pier 9 in a day. We experimented with Kinect style tracking, and TSPS but in the end we found the easiest way was a straight up manual motion study. Compaired to hours/days of code tweaking this solution was cheap, easy, and fast.

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Step 1: What You Will Need

A clock or timer, Important for a couple of reasons, you are going to want to break your data layers out into more easily digestible chunks. We decided to capture 10 hours of data, this meant we wanted 30 minute increments, with each recorder on for a 2 hour shift.

You will need to define the basic area you want to study, create a plan drawing of the space space you will be recording, that drawing will be your base layer. Tape this drawing to your clipboard.

Pick 4 locations on the base drawing to be your 'Datum Points'. These are the points that you will draw on every piece of trace to make sure they reg ester together. Choose the 4 points in locations that will not get in the way of where people walk.

Get a booklet of Duralar, this will be your tracing medium. It takes ink well and wont rip like trace.

A fine line sharpie, at least one for each person who is doing the recording. In order to keep the recording consistent make sure every person has the same pen. If you want to go the extra mile and add extra layers of data you could use different pens for different metrics. For example you could have 3 different pens for how fast someone moves through the space, or a different color for men or women, or varied lineweight for a monochrome version!

A clipboard, this will hold your papers together and make sure the Datums don't move.

Lots of coffee, you're going to be stuck in one place for a long time, no naps.

Step 2: Get Setup (and Comfortable)

Get to your spot at least 15 minutes before your target time starts, this will allow you to find the perfect vantage point and any last minute tweaks to your setup.

Load your clipboard with your first sheet of vellum, make sure to record the time period and datum points first thing.

Step 3: Record a Track, Then Another, Then a Few Thousand More

When someone walks through the lobby draw a line for their path. If they stop draw a stop mark. Whatever door they go out of gets a tally mark. With this you get at least 3 layers of data.

Step 4: Take Shifts and Switch Layers

When your shift is up, switch over. Put the drawing up on the wall and get ready for the next one!

Step 5: Compile Your Data

After your time period is up go home. Take a nap or a break, you want to be fresh and staring at a space can be draining.

When you're rested scan in each of the drawings you took. Once they are scanned in you can live trace them in Illustrator or retrace them in the CAD program of your choice for more detailed linework.

Now that we have our data there are a few things we can do with it:

Data driven laser lithography

Framing your prints

Motus Forma data visualization of 10 hours in a space

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    6 Discussions


    4 years ago

    In answer to the question why.....
    As shown you end up with a track of movements in a given space. This can be used to pin point bottlenecks in a layout during busy periods. An example would be a newspaper stand in a train station. You wouldnt place this near to the platform if it created a busy and potentially dangerous slow down in people movement.

    Another use is in a retail environment to understand where to place products in a store layout to maximise customer browsing and ensure the customer views as much impulse buy products as possible .

    In my line of work (industrial engineering) we use it as part of a wider study into waste reduction and work place organisation. For example, if a study of a work shop shows repeated movements to the same place, we try to either centralise that task or provide additional resources directly to the operator in order to minimise movement (one of the largest wastes in a business).


    4 years ago on Introduction

    umm.. Okay. It looks cool (especially the 3D print), and it is interesting. But what is it for? :-)

    4 replies

    Umm, okay. I see what how you used the data. I guess my real question is, was this study to accomplish some real-world change or to generate data for art?

    It's cool as hell, don't get me wrong. I just have never seen a motion study that wasn't performed to boost performance, simplify some task or operation, etc.