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  • motion analysis of hands

    Dear all,

    Many thanks to everyone who wrote in answer to my question on motion analysis
    of hands/fingers. Here's a list of replies for anyone that's interested.

    ************************************************** *****************


    > I'm trying to set up a motion analysis system for looking at finger/hand
    > motion. Has anyone tried this? I'm having problems trying to establish a
    > marker system for such a small scale.

    One of my colleagues at Queen's University in Ontario had good results using an
    Opti-trak system to measure motion of the hand for a study of wrist kinematics
    (I was one of his guinea pigs). His name is Ian Wright. He is still there
    until the end of this term, I believe, but I'm not sure how often he checks his
    e-mail address. You can try to reach him at, or you might
    want to get in touch with his past supervisor, Dr. Carolyn Small, whose e-mail
    address should be in the biomch-l list (probably

    Hope this helps.
    Stephen Ferguson
    ASIF Research Institute 41 81 44 22 88
    Davos, Switzerland 41 81 44 22 88 (fax)

    ************************************************** ****************

    Nicky -

    I seem to recall seeing a setup to look at hand motion at the Mayo Clinic
    a couple of years ago - I was there for a Gait Conference, but when we
    toured the lab, someone was using a Polhemous (sp?) system to look at
    hand motion. I don't recall who, but Dwight MEglan was showing us
    around, so he might know.

    Good luck


    Marcus P. Besser, PhD []
    Assistant Director, Human Performance Laboratory _ /_/
    Assistant Professsor, Department of Physical Therapy / /
    Thomas Jefferson University / \
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 19107-5233 /_ \_
    Phone: 1-215-955-1645 Fax: 1-215-923-2475 email:

    ************************************************** ********************

    I've used a couple of motion analysis systems to measure
    finger span between the thumb and index finger -- real simple
    stuff, but it taught me a lot. Mainly, forget SelSpot and use
    OptoTrac (I don't know if you have a choice). The latter gave us
    an order of magnitude smaller error (variance of spans measured
    for a known length) than the former. We mounted the LEDs on the
    fingertips using double-sided foam tape (from 3M) and then slipping
    the tips of surgical gloves over the LEDs. The thin latex did not
    bother the IR image, and greatly improved stability of the mount.

    Good luck ...

    From: clv2@Edu.CWRU.po (Clayton L. Van Doren)

    ************************************************** ************************

    Hi, Nicky,
    Dr. FongChin Su and Dr. Sakai did a study on hand motion in playing piano while
    they were visitiing Mayo Clinic. They used Motion Analysis system. Dr. Su is
    working on a technical note on the detailed techniques of data collection. Here
    is Dr. Su's e-mail address: "". Good luck.

    Bing Yu, Ph.D.
    Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory
    Mayo Clinic
    Rochester, MN 55905

    ************************************************** **************************

    Dear Nicky:
    We are constntly using 3 video cameras to analyze movement of hand
    motion. You need to zoom close to the hand and use a calibration points
    around the hand. The accrucy is .1 mm.
    Gideon Ariel, Ph.D.

    From: ariel1@com.netcom.ix (Gideon Ariel)

    ************************************************** **************************

    Please let me know the results of the query concerning a
    marker system for motion analysis of the hands. I may want to use
    a similar system to validate the CyberGlove.

    FYI: If you are not familiar with the CyberGlove, it is glove that
    contains wire sensors that is used to measure position and movment of the
    fingers and hand. The cost for one glove ranges from $10,000 to
    $20,000, but you may want to contact the company for an accurate
    quote. The address is:

    Virtual Technologies
    2175 Park Blvd.
    Palo Alto, CA 94306
    phone (415) 321-4900

    ************* Raymond McKenna, P.T.
    ** Physical Therapist/Research Assistant
    ** ** ** ** Texas Woman's University
    ** ** ** ** School of Physical Therapy
    ** ** ** ** ** 1130 M.D. Anderson Blvd.
    ********** ** ** Houston, Texas 77030
    ** ** (713) 794-2075
    ******** e-mail: HG_MCKENNA@TWU.EDU

    ************************************************** ************************

    I have done 3-d kinematic analysis of ant locomotion using the DLT
    technique, so a human hand seems HUGE by comparison. For a calibration
    device, I found that small plastic LEGO blocks worked very well. I just
    measured them with a vernier calipers. The biggest problem I have had is
    the lack of depth of field. That is, at high magnification and high
    framing rates light is in short supply. Thus the volume of space that is
    in good focus is small. Solutions: add more light, close down lens

    Rodger Kram Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Human Biodynamics Dept.
    Univ. of California, Berkeley

    ************************************************** ************************

    We have used the data glove, and an exo-skeleton for such finger tracking
    stuff and also an Ascension Flock of birds or a Pholhemus magnetic position/
    orientation sensor for tracking hand position.

    Keith Karn

    ************************************************** ************************

    I have done some work investigatin the hand motion during the luge
    start. I have found that sewing small reflective markers on various
    sizes of tight fitting cross-country ski gloves has provided adequate
    tracking of the hand in motion. I use markers 6-7 mm square. I have
    also used fast drying glue to stick the markers on the actual joint
    locations ofthe subjects hand (they again were wearing tight fitting
    gloves) the only problem with using the reflective markers is that the
    filming bachground area must be realitively dark. I then use a halogen
    utility lamp to reflect the markers. If I can be of more help please
    E-mail me at Good luck!, Sean Humphreys.

    ************************************************** ************************

    Hi Nicky:
    It sounds like we're doing a lot of similar things. Anyway, we presented
    a paper at last years American Society of Biomechanics (17th Meeting in
    Iowa, City 1993) about it. I was the first author. We had same small
    markers from Selspot that we used (i think it was their no. 2 LED). LEt
    me know if you have more questions.

    Jack Tigh Dennerlein ~0-0~ \- /

    ************************************************** *************************

    Dear Nicky,
    We have an ExpertVision system (Motion Analysis Corp) here (The University
    of Sydney, Biomechanics Division)but I think our methods would apply equally
    to your Vicon (is that what you are still using at Strathclyde?). In a study
    of upper limb function (Jebsen) we measured upper trunk, arm, forearm, hand,
    index finger and thumb. For the hand and digits we used small (4mm)
    spherical markers attached with double-sided hypoallergenic adhesive tape to
    the joints. Six cameras were necessary to cope with the rotations and two of
    them were close up on the hand.
    Good Luck, Richard

    From: (Richard Smith)

    ************************************************** **************************

    Dear Nicky,

    Reading your question at BIOMCH-L I thought you might be interested to know
    that in our laboratory we have been recording drawing and writing movements
    with our Optotrak (3D movement registration) system. Our recordings involve
    arm, hand, and index finger movements. Optotrak uses three infrared sensors to
    register locations of infrared diodes in space. The diameter of these markers
    is about 6 mm. We apply 4 of these to the index finger, two on both the first
    and second phalanx, in order to estimate extension/flexion in their
    interphalangeal joint. Extension/flexion and adduction/abduction in the first
    metacarpophalangeal joint can be estimated by attaching another three markers
    at the back of the hand. These are also used to estimate ext/flex and abd/add
    of the wrist by relating them to another two markers at the forarm. We even
    estimated pro/supination of the forearm with another markers. So we used a
    total of 14 markers. In order to prevent the markers on the second phalanx of
    the index finger from being obscured by the hand (due to the writing posture)
    we had to mount them on a small strip that was attached to the phalanx under a
    90 deg angle. So when the hand was flat on the table the strip with the markers
    was pointing upward. Our main interest is joint angle *changes*, rather than
    exact joint angles. Applying 3D geometry to the marker positions we can quite
    well derive these changes. However, marker positions were chosen such that
    marker positions were influenced as little as possible by soft tissue
    deformations in *writing and drawing* tasks. For other tasks (slight) changes
    of marker positions may be needed.
    I realize that I am not being very explicit, but this message it really just
    meant to let you know that we were faced with the same problems that I think you
    have and that we have worked out a solution that fits our specific needs. If
    you think our experience may be of any help to you, please inform me about your
    goals and problems, so that maybe I can help.

    Joost Schillings,

    ************************************************** ***********************


    You may want to try asking a former colleuge of mine who did his
    masters thesis on the hand and pinching and grasping. I recall
    helping him on 3D motion analysis using retroreflective markers:

    Brock Horsley

    Good Luck!

    Jim Patton
    _/ _/ _/ _/_/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/_/ _/ Graduate Student
    _/_/_/ _/_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ Biomedical Engineering
    _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ Northwestern U
    _/ _/_/_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/_/
    _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/_/_/ _/ _/ (312) 549-3263

    ************************************************** *************

    Contact Karin Hollerbach ( Karin is using a MacReflex
    System (Qualisys) to look at hands. She is located at the Lawrence Livermore
    National Laboratory in California. Good Luck!


    ************************************************** ******************

    Dear Nicky,

    I suggest that you contact Mr. Peter Meddings at Oxford Metrics, Ltd.,
    manufacturer of the VICON system. Tel: 44 865 244 656

    From: LEEBARNES@com.delphi

    ************************************************** *******************


    I have used the Vicon to track finger motion (both the
    old VX and the new 370). I used their smallest
    marker balls (8mm) on each phalanx without much
    trouble. It used a small sized calibration object and
    got residuals below 1mm. The problem is which motion
    analysis system do you have?

    Peter Kyberd
    Oxford Orthopaedic Engineering Centre

    ************************************************** ************************

    Dear Nicky Shaw-Hamilton,

    Regarding your search for a motion analysis system for finger and
    hand motion, have you considered the OPTOTRAK? Some of our customers
    are using the OPTOTRAK for various grasping and hand motion studies.
    It is an active marker system with high accuracy, realtime 3d
    position tracking. There are options that allow such things as
    realtime rigid body tracking and collecting analog data along with
    the positional data. Our standard markers are infrared light
    emitting diodes, mounted on disks of diameter 4, 8, or 16mm. One
    would typically use the 4 or 8mm size for hand or finger studies.

    If you have a copy of the proceedings from the 1994 IEEE
    International Conference on Robotics and Automation, you may wish to
    look at the first paper in section A1.10 (Rohling and Hollerbach).
    It shows the use of the system by the Biorobotics Lab at McGill
    University here in Canada to study the human index finger. Please
    note, however, that the rather imposing apparatus in figure 1 is not
    our system. An example of one of our markers is shown in figure 5 of
    the paper.

    If you would like further information about our system, please let me
    know and I can mail or fax you a complete description. I could also
    provide contact information should you wish to speak to current users
    of the OPTOTRAK.

    Good luck with your search.

    Yours sincerely,

    Margaret Fraser
    Northern Digital Inc.

    ************************************************** *********************

    Hi Nicky-
    We're using a set of fiberoptics to measure joint angles in the hand.
    The fiberoptic cable is run along the joint of interest, and the power loss as
    the joint (and cable) bends is proportional to the joint angle.
    My colleague has built a prototype system using low-grade fiberoptics.
    The outer coating of the cable is stripped away in the area over the joint;
    this increases the power loss when that area is bent. Spurious signal loss in
    other areas of the cable between the site of interest and the
    transmitter/receiver are diminished because those parts of the cable are still
    clad. The associated electronics attempt to keep the power level of the
    transmitted light constant; the measured quantity is the power the transmitter
    requires to maintain the desired output (ie received) level.
    This is still a prototype system, so I don't have a ready-made device (or
    much information, for that matter) to give you. You would have to design/build
    a significant amount of the system from scratch. You can get high-loss
    fiberoptic cable and very small emitters/receivers quite cheaply.
    good luck!
    -Claudia Ranniger

    From: "Claudia Ranniger"