'Motion Magnification' Reveals Vibrations Invisible to the Naked Eye

By Andrew Liszewski on at

A crane towering over a building site might look rock solid to the naked eye, but new video processing software developed by researchers at MIT is able to accentuate and reveal its subtle motions as it sways back and forth in the wind. And it promises to have a devastating effect on enrolment at crane operator schools across the globe.

The software takes high-speed footage of a structure or object with subtle vibrations and uses something called motion magnification to extract and accentuate the frames that reveal those vibrations into a new clip. What you’re left with is footage where those motions or vibrations are then easy to spot.

Besides making people scared of living or working in tall buildings in windy cities, the software could be a cheaper but equally accurate alternative to accelerometers or laser measuring devices when it comes to monitoring structures or testing materials.