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J Exp Biol. 2016 Dec 1;219(Pt 23):3701-3711. Epub 2016 Sep 21.

Validation of XMALab software for marker-based XROMM.

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Center for Computation and Visualization, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
Department of Biology, Providence College, Providence, RI 02912, USA.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


Marker-based XROMM requires software tools for: (1) correcting fluoroscope distortion; (2) calibrating X-ray cameras; (3) tracking radio-opaque markers; and (4) calculating rigid body motion. In this paper we describe and validate XMALab, a new open-source software package for marker-based XROMM (C++ source and compiled versions on Bitbucket). Most marker-based XROMM studies to date have used XrayProject in MATLAB. XrayProject can produce results with excellent accuracy and precision, but it is somewhat cumbersome to use and requires a MATLAB license. We have designed XMALab to accelerate the XROMM process and to make it more accessible to new users. Features include the four XROMM steps (listed above) in one cohesive user interface, real-time plot windows for detecting errors, and integration with an online data management system, XMAPortal. Accuracy and precision of XMALab when tracking markers in a machined object are ±0.010 and ±0.043 mm, respectively. Mean precision for nine users tracking markers in a tutorial dataset of minipig feeding was ±0.062 mm in XMALab and ±0.14 mm in XrayProject. Reproducibility of 3D point locations across nine users was 10-fold greater in XMALab than in XrayProject, and six degree-of-freedom bone motions calculated with a joint coordinate system were 3- to 6-fold more reproducible in XMALab. XMALab is also suitable for tracking white or black markers in standard light videos with optional checkerboard calibration. We expect XMALab to increase both the quality and quantity of animal motion data available for comparative biomechanics research.


Accuracy; Biomechanics; Camera calibration; Kinematics; Marker tracking; Motion analysis; Precision; X-ray

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