Assessment of motion function with objective motion analysis

Movement analysis includes modelling and analysis of the function of the musculoskeletal system by measuring how different body parts move in relation to each other. We have been working with motion analysis for more than 20 years. The research takes place in close collaboration with clinics and we can also assist with the development of systems, measurement methods and data analysis.

The use of motion analysis in healthcare 
Movement assessment is common in healthcare. It can be anything from assessing gait function in a person with balance disorders after a stroke, to measuring the range of motion in the shoulder joint in a person with nerve damage in the shoulder area. 

The complexity of different motion measurements varies. If, for example, gait is to be examined, equipment ranging from stop watches to digital walkways can be used to measure step time and variation. Optical 3D cameras in a movement laboratory can be used to capture the movement pattern of the entire body. This means that different requirements are placed on the design of both the measurement system and the used analysis method. 

Current clinical measurements of movement function are primarily based on blunt visual rating scales and simple measures such as movement speed. This means that it is difficult to detect e.g. minor post-treatment changesor changes during ongoing rehabilitation. To enable more accurate measurements in everyday clinical practice, better objective tools that are easy to use are needed. 

We work with the entire range of measurement and analysis methods in various applications. Below you can read more about some of our projects in research and development. 

Tools for enabling movement analysis in the clinical setting 
We are developing a portable digital measuring system for assessing movement function in a clinical environment. The sensors contain miniaturized accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers (like the ones found in currently available smart phones) as well as optical distance meters. They are attached with Velcro straps to the body part to be examined. The sensors send data to a small device attached to the waist or to a computer. The system can currently measure and animate body movements in real time and illustrate the results in a simple and clear way in the form of graphs and measurement values compared to one or more reference groups. 

Further development is now taking place in collaboration with ergonomists to be able to make long-term measurements of physical load, to detect and prevent deterioration injuries in time. For this part of the project a smart phone application is being developed, where the embedded sensors of the phone or a smart watch are used for data collection. 

Clinical validation is performed together with the Neuro, Head and Neck Center at University Hospital of Umeå and Neurorehab in Sävar and Linköping, respectively. We also collaborate with the companies AnyMo AB and Likvor AB. 

Assessment of human motor control based on 3D optical camera systems 
In collaboration with U Motion Lab and UFBI, we also use camera-based motion analysis systems to be able to study detailed movement function. Within a research program on cruciate ligament injuries and motor control, we have analyzed the long-term effects on knee stability due to the injury. In another ongoing research program, we examine in detail the motor skills of the finger by simultaneously measuring finger movement and brain activity in stroke patients and people without brain damage. We also support the motor skills lab at the Department of Odontology by developing measures that describe the range of motion of the jaw before and after different types of treatments. 

3D visualization of gait measurement in the U Motion Lab.   

Fredrik Öhberg 
Helena Grip       - 
Nina Sundström -