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J Biomech. 2001 Mar;34(3):355-61.

Correcting for deformation in skin-based marker systems.

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  • 1Division of Biomechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, MN:3030, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


A new technique is described that reduces error due to skin movement artifact in the opto-electronic measurement of in vivo skeletal motion. This work builds on a previously described point cluster technique marker set and estimation algorithm by extending the transformation equations to the general deformation case using a set of activity-dependent deformation models. Skin deformation during activities of daily living are modeled as consisting of a functional form defined over the observation interval (the deformation model) plus additive noise (modeling error). The method is described as an interval deformation technique. The method was tested using simulation trials with systematic and random components of deformation error introduced into marker position vectors. The technique was found to substantially outperform methods that require rigid-body assumptions. The method was tested in vivo on a patient fitted with an external fixation device (Ilizarov). Simultaneous measurements from markers placed on the Ilizarov device (fixed to bone) were compared to measurements derived from skin-based markers. The interval deformation technique reduced the errors in limb segment pose estimate by 33 and 25% compared to the classic rigid-body technique for position and orientation, respectively. This newly developed method has demonstrated that by accounting for the changing shape of the limb segment, a substantial improvement in the estimates of in vivo skeletal movement can be achieved.

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