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A procedure to validate three-dimensional motion assessment systems

Author(s): DeLuzio KJ, Wyss UP, Li J, Costigan PA

Abstract

The automation provided by computer-assisted motion-tracking systems allows for three-dimensional motion and force analysis. These systems combined with mathematical modelling are able to analyse quickly the intricate dynamics of human movement. Understanding the limitations of human motion analysis as performed by the present measurement techniques is essential for proper application of the results. It is necessary to validate the analysis system prior to subject testing. This paper provides a validation of an optoelectric motion-tracking system used in a dynamic knee assessment study. While the validation is shown with one particular system only, it is suggested that all systems used in two- or three-dimensional motion analysis should be tested similarly in the actual configuration used. Three simple mechanical representations of the human knee have been used in this validation. The first model provided an understanding of the source and behaviour of the error introduced to the accuracy of defining a vector between the recorded coordinates of two markers. The other two models investigated the effect of processing methods specific to the knee analysis project. Separating the markers by at least 180 mm is recommended to produce stable vectors. Relative joint angles could be calculated in all three planes of rotation. The error in calculating flexion and longitudinal rotation was less than 2.0 degrees, while calculating adduction introduced errors of 4.0 degrees. Force calculations were found to be within 8%. The system behaviour was found to be consistent within the calibrated volume about the force platform. Simple mechanical models combined with straightforward procedures can provide validation in terms of clinically relevant parameters.

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