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  • A "biomechanics lab for teaching" idea

    Given the current shutdown and self-isolation regulations I am working in the office by myself providing support to our users and other callers. After answering some questions from several different directions recently, I thought that I would post this idea on BIOMCH-L so that it would be available to all Motion Capture System manufacturers and users in the hope that someone might consider it worth implementing to help people who want to set up a motion capture system in a biomechanics lab and teach a basic course.

    I think that the classic environment to introduce students to biomechanics is described in the 1990 paper, “Measurement of Lower Extremity Kinematics During Level Walking” by Kadaba, Ramakrishnan, and Wootten. The paper describes a basic motion capture system with just five cameras and two force plates (it was the third Oxford Metrics Vicon system that I installed in the mid 1980's) that performed basic 3D trajectory and analog measurements - an environment that would be easy to replicate today.

    This was the environment that enabled Ramakrishnan to write the Helen Hayes Software under the direction of Murali Kadaba and Mary Wootten. His software has the advantage of processing all of the data in a way that is well documented in Ramakrishnan’s Pascal-2 code and the accompanying files because the analysis was performed and documented step by step with the ability to examine, and if necessary modify various parts of the process, from end to end. I worked with them to help them get the software installed, documented, and running in many gait analysis labs at the time to collect the data from patients, pre and post surgery, that lead to computerized gait analysis becoming a significant factor in the treatment of conditions that affect gait.

    I think it would be simple these days for motion capture manufacturers to offer a five camera system with a basic analysis package that replicates the Helen Hayes step-by-step data analysis in a way that anyone would be able to use, and then walk students though the data collection, processing and eventual analysis to teach biomechanics in the gait analysis environment where students would progress from just watching someone walk, to measuring knee joint moments by the end of the year.

  • #2
    Re: A "biomechanics lab for teaching" idea

    Covid-19 affects all businesses equally. Its shows no favorites! Universities, Medical Centers, Government and Corporations have reduced staff, closed labs, sent employees, faculty and students home with a "do not come back until it's cleared by the state or the country government". The same have stopped spending, cancelled purchases, froze operational and capital procurement and in America 16 million faced unemployment. Mocap companies are no different than these healthcare, industrial, or other service businesses. Mocap companies equally need to manage our operations, continue to develop software, maintain staff employment, etc. and get through this challenging phase in history. Soon it will pass. We at Qualisys are fortunate with global sales efforts to have sizable orders with shipping dates into June, July and August keeping production open and moving forth. I am confident I speak for my mocap colleagues as well on these matters equally.

    Specifically you have posed a question to mocap companies to provide 5 camera systems with no simple solution. Where do we ship? Who will set it up? With entities closed this is a burden just to ship equipment. We can't even send a markerless system to a city park, even Tom Brady was asked to leave a Tampa Florida park this week. However, What you are asking is how can interested students continue their learning of biomechanics? Of course their academic institution is their primary means for such knowledge. We at Qualisys have offered to customers and any interested mocap individual weekly Webinars hosted by Qualisys developers, partners and users. (https://www.qualisys.com/webinars/) The Webinars are 30 to 45 minutes and open to all. We demonstrate the use of mocap and the wide variety of tools from importing, exporting, trajectory management, integrating 3rd party devices, and streaming into Unity or Unreal gaming engines; we provide sample files for those to practice or review and limited - time based QTM licenses as well. We have opened some of our educational tutorials on our Qualisys - Qacademy (https://www.qualisys.com/my/qacademy/#!/) website area to allow for those to view at their leisure; we have uploaded short instructional videos (over 40 now) to our You Tube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmj...XmNlFq9TRn5G4w) allowing anyone to further become more knowledgeable on such tasks and become more aware of our mocap tools; finally sales and marketing have hosted numerous online mocap capture sessions to groups of users and non-users on data collection and processing ...

    It's not about configuring a 5 camera system to ship out which its not practical today. What is practical is for those interested to seek the mocap vendor(s) of interest and determine how they can satisfy their thirst for knowledge. Tomorrow's webinar is Streaming Data to Unity (might appeal to gamers and those in entertainment) and next week's in on Creating SDK plugins for real-time streaming.

    Best Regards,




    Originally posted by ecramp48 View Post
    Given the current shutdown and self-isolation regulations I am working in the office by myself providing support to our users and other callers. After answering some questions from several different directions recently, I thought that I would post this idea on BIOMCH-L so that it would be available to all Motion Capture System manufacturers and users in the hope that someone might consider it worth implementing to help people who want to set up a motion capture system in a biomechanics lab and teach a basic course.

    I think that the classic environment to introduce students to biomechanics is described in the 1990 paper, “Measurement of Lower Extremity Kinematics During Level Walking” by Kadaba, Ramakrishnan, and Wootten. The paper describes a basic motion capture system with just five cameras and two force plates (it was the third Oxford Metrics Vicon system that I installed in the mid 1980's) that performed basic 3D trajectory and analog measurements - an environment that would be easy to replicate today.

    This was the environment that enabled Ramakrishnan to write the Helen Hayes Software under the direction of Murali Kadaba and Mary Wootten. His software has the advantage of processing all of the data in a way that is well documented in Ramakrishnan’s Pascal-2 code and the accompanying files because the analysis was performed and documented step by step with the ability to examine, and if necessary modify various parts of the process, from end to end. I worked with them to help them get the software installed, documented, and running in many gait analysis labs at the time to collect the data from patients, pre and post surgery, that lead to computerized gait analysis becoming a significant factor in the treatment of conditions that affect gait.

    I think it would be simple these days for motion capture manufacturers to offer a five camera system with a basic analysis package that replicates the Helen Hayes step-by-step data analysis in a way that anyone would be able to use, and then walk students though the data collection, processing and eventual analysis to teach biomechanics in the gait analysis environment where students would progress from just watching someone walk, to measuring knee joint moments by the end of the year.

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