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J Biomech. 2011 Apr 7;44(6):1212-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.01.016. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Design and validation of surface-marker clusters for the quantification of joint rotations in general movements in early infancy.

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Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics, University of Sussex, UK.


Lack of complexity in general movements in early infancy is an important marker of potential motor disorders of neurological origin, such as cerebral palsy. Quantitative approaches to characterising this complexity are hampered by experimental difficulties in recording from infants in their first few months of life. The aim of this study was to design and validate bespoke surface-marker clusters to facilitate data acquisition and enable full quantification of joint rotations. The clusters were validated by recording the controlled movements of a soft-body dummy doll simultaneously with an optical (Qualisys) and inertial (XSens) motion capture system. The angles estimated from the optical system were compared with those measured by the inertial system. We demonstrate that the surface-marker based approach compares well with the use of an inertial system to obtain "direct" readings of the rotations whilst alleviating the issues associated with the use of an optical motion capture system. We briefly report use of this technique in 1-5 month old infants. By enabling full quantification of joint rotation, use of the custom made markers could pave the way for early diagnosis of movement disorders.

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