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J Biomech. 2010 Jul 20;43(10):1983-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.03.007. Epub 2010 Apr 10.

Functionally interpretable local coordinate systems for the upper extremity using inertial & magnetic measurement systems.

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  • 1Department of Biomechanical Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.



Inertial Magnetic Measurement Systems (IMMS) are becoming increasingly popular by allowing for measurements outside the motion laboratory. The latest models enable long term, accurate measurement of segment motion in terms of joint angles, if initial segment orientations can accurately be determined. The standard procedure for definition of segmental orientation is based on the measurement of positions of bony landmarks (BLM). However, IMMS do not deliver position information, so an alternative method to establish IMMS based, anatomically understandable segment orientations is proposed.


For five subjects, IMMS recordings were collected in a standard anatomical position for definition of static axes, and during a series of standardized motions for the estimation of kinematic axes of rotation. For all axes, the intra- and inter-individual dispersion was estimated. Subsequently, local coordinate systems (LCS) were constructed on the basis of the combination of IMMS axes with the lowest dispersion and compared with BLM based LCS.


The repeatability of the method appeared to be high; for every segment at least two axes could be determined with a dispersion of at most 3.8 degrees. Comparison of IMMS based with BLM based LCS yielded compatible results for the thorax, but less compatible results for the humerus, forearm and hand, where differences in orientation rose to 17.2 degrees.


Although different from the 'gold standard' BLM based LCS, IMMS based LCS can be constructed repeatable, enabling the estimation of segment orientations outside the laboratory.


A procedure for the definition of local reference frames using IMMS is proposed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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