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ERIC Number: EJ1162176
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Dec
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Analyzing Virtual Physics Simulations with Tracker
Claessens, Tom
Physics Teacher, v55 n9 p558-560 Dec 2017
In the physics teaching community, Tracker is well known as a user-friendly open source video analysis software, authored by Douglas Brown. With this tool, the user can trace markers indicated on a video or on stroboscopic photos and perform kinematic analyses. Tracker also includes a data modeling tool that allows one to fit some theoretical equations of motion onto experimentally obtained data. In the field of particle mechanics, Tracker has been effectively used for learning and teaching about projectile motion, "toss up" and free-fall vertical motion, and to explain the principle of mechanical energy conservation. Also, Tracker has been successfully used in rigid body mechanics to interpret the results of experiments with rolling/slipping cylinders and moving rods. In this work, I propose an original method in which Tracker is used to analyze virtual computer simulations created with a physics-based motion solver, instead of analyzing video recording or stroboscopic photos. This could be an interesting approach to study kinematics and dynamics problems in physics education, in particular when there is no or limited access to physical labs. I demonstrate the working method with a typical (but quite challenging) problem in classical mechanics: a slipping/rolling cylinder on a rough surface.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A