Real-time analysis of human movement

Walking and running are two of the most common movements that humans perform. They are also the basis of not only elite performance, but also injury.

In biomechanics we use a variety of methodologies to analyse what makes the elite runners elite, as well as investigating why people get injured.

Here, Dr Andy Greenhalgh talks about some of the work we do

 

Natural History Museum

During June, myself and my colleague Dr Andy Greenhalgh (in addition to an awesome selection of our current MSc Sport & Exercise Science students) took to the Natural History Museum as part of Universities Week 2014 to get the public inspired and involved, and to share the work that we are doing to improve performance and reduce injury.

Motion Analysis

Our home for the time at the Natural History Museum

Our home for the time at the Natural History Museum

For this, we set-up our 24 camera Qualisys 3D motion analysis system around a treadmill, with the aim of undertaking real-time analysis of how people walk, run and move in general. The real time aspect of this is VERY challenging. We normally collect the data, and then AFTER the participant has gone, we process the data.

Steve (MSc student) with the marker placements. The brightness of the markers is caused by the flash from the camera

Steve (MSc student) with the marker placements. The brightness of the markers is caused by the flash from the camera

The motion analysis system consists of cameras which send out infra-red light. This light then reflects off the markers we place over the body and is picked up by the sensors in the cameras. With a pre-calibration performed (consisting of waving a wand around for a few minutes) the system knows exactly where every camera is and can calculate where each marker is in 3D space to an accuracy of less than 1 mm!!!

With these all being done in real-time, we are then able to use a piece of software (Visual 3D) that uses the marker coordinates to build a skeletal model of the individual. From this, we are able to get a massive amount of data including joint angles, velocities and accelerations, in addition to movement of individual parts of the body (including the centre of mass).

Real-time motion analysis

The final result is shown below

 

Universities Week 2014

This was all part of Universities Week, which was run by Universities UK with Research Councils UK, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. The centrepiece, was an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, which was open to the public all week, with 45 universities highlighting their inspirational research across a broad range of disciplines.

(we’re right near the front of the highlights video…obviously we had the best exhibition…)

 

The Team

Left-to-right Dr Miller (me), Dr Greenhalgh, Steve Williams, Amanda Adams and Laurence Smith. Amey Kolekar isn't in this photo who was also part of the team

Left-to-right
Dr Miller (me), Dr Greenhalgh, Steve Williams, Amanda Adams and Laurence Smith. Amey Kolekar isn’t in this photo who was also part of the team

IMG_2040

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