1S10: Motion Amplification: A new way to visualize vibrations

Jeff Hay, Founder & CEO, RDI Technologies


Motion Amplification is a video-processing technique that detects subtle motion and amplifies that motion to a level visible with the naked eye, resolving motions as small as 2.54 microns at 1 meter. Compared to standard video technology, this is an improvement of nearly 100x. The process involves the use of high dynamic range video cameras where every pixel becomes a point sensor, creating millions of data points in an instant. This solves a fundamental issue in today’s standard contact based data collections, that is for large assets outfitting them with contact sensors is costly and difficult because of the sheer number of sensors required to cover the entire asset. In addition, the software allows the user to simply draw a box and measure the time waveform and spectrum in absolute units of displacement.

A key capability of the Motion Amplification technology is the speed in which the results are returned. Typical processing times for a 10 second acquisition is roughly 20 seconds on a handheld acquisition system. This allows the technician to process the data on the spot and make changes in the field. This is key if the user is doing root cause analysis, trying to pinpoint the location of a fault, or temporarily altering the structure to determine modification impacts. This flexibility allows the user to use the tool as a rapid Operational Deflection Shape (ODS) without the overhead of the time-consuming point collections and modeling. Videos created through Motion Amplification enhance the understanding of the components and interrelationships creating the motion. This makes it a great troubleshooting tool, quick and effective alternative to traditional ODS, and effective communication tool between technical and non-technical resources. The software is easy to use and provides instant results. Multiple examples and case studies will be highlighted including before and after videos demonstrating repairs made based on Motion Amplification results. New advancements in the technology will also be covered including image stabilization and filtering of videos to isolate individual frequencies in the video.


Jeff graduated from the University of Louisville in 2011 with a Doctorate in Physics where his research focused heavily on Applied Optical Physics. After graduation he took a position as a Research Engineer with the University of Louisville where his roles focused on data acquisition, signal processing, software development, and data analysis. Several of the grants Dr. Hay participated in required commercialization strategies of which he spearheaded. While at the University he invented a technology to measure motions remotely with the use of video camera, a technology that was patented in 2011. In 2013 Dr. Hay left the University to start RDI, LLC to bring the technology he invented out of the University and into commercial markets. He took on the role of CEO of RDI and licensed the technology from the University of Louisville. In addition to this he has worked with sub-licensees to assist in commercialization of the technology within their organizations.