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Tech can now identify people by their dance moves

Angelica Stabile

Don’t just stand there — bust a move.

Every time you hit the dance floor, a new study shows that a person can be identified by the way they move and groove.

Scientists at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland conducted research on how dance styles can be identified through the use of motion capture technology.

The scientists initially ran tests to see how musical genres initiate certain movements. But as the study progressed, they unintentionally discovered that, regardless of music type, a person can be identified by their dance style.

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According to the study, participants were recorded by a “twelve-camera optical motion capture system” which tracked movement through reflective markers placed on their bodies.

A variety of music genres including blues, country, pop and reggae were played and the participants were prompted to dance however they pleased. The motion capture technology was able to identify participants by their movement 94.1 percent of the time.

“It is notable how much better our model performed when classifying individuals rather than the genres to which they were moving, especially given the comparatively higher level of chance-accuracy for the genre problem (12.5 percent compared to 1.37 percent),” the study said.

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Although the system showed great accuracy, some genres of music impacted identification due to stereotypical movement attached to the genre. For example, heavy metal music induced more “head-banging."

"It is possible that participants’ movements were affected by familiarity with norms specific to the subcultures invoked by ... musical genres," the study said. "Quite possibly even if they themselves did not identify with that culture."

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