San Leandro Firm Helps Spiderman Sling His Webs

PhaseSpace, located in the Home Depot office complex, uses sensors on human stunt performers to capture actions that will become special effects for movies.


Wonder how movie makers create the special effects that allow superheroes like Spiderman to swing from buildings and best badguys with acrobatic aplomb?

Well, thank the San Leandro firm PhaseSpace, which is among a handful of companies that use sensors strapped to human actors to capture motion for movie-making purposes.

PhaseSpace essentially captures the motions stunt actors. These motions will later become like a blank canvas on which will be overlaid computer-generated graphics.

The combination of motion with graphics is what make it seem like Spiderman is swinging to the rescue, as shown in the video above. The company operates out of a warehouse-like office at the Home Depot office complex.

There are approximately a dozen relatively small companies participating in this market, according to PhaseSpace. Current full body optical systems average $250,000 to $500,000. PhaseSpace has advanced the technology to make it less expensive to use.

"We're taking these things to the next generation," PhaseSpace CEO Tracy McSheery told the Contra Costa Times. "The key is we're making them affordable."

PhaseSpace is one of the firms that is forming the backbone of an emerging high-tech cluster in San Leandro that will take advantage of the Lit San Leandro fiber optic loop being laid in a joint venture between local software entrepreneur Patrick Kennedy and the city.

Read more about San Leandro's Innovation Economy on Patch.

Know of other cool companies in San Leandro? Give them a shout out in the comments.

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