Direct comparison of kinematic data collected using an electromagnetic tracking system versus a digital optical system
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The purpose of this study was to quantify the dynamic accuracy of kinematics measured by a digital optical motion analysis system in a gait analysis laboratory (capture volume approximately 20m(3)) compared to a standard range direct-current electromagnetic (EM) tracking device (capture volume approximately 1m(3)). This is a subset of a larger effort to establish an appropriate marker set for the optical system to quantify upperlimb kinematics simultaneously with gait, in comparison to previous studies of isolated upperlimb movements that have employed EM tracking devices. Rigid clusters of spherical reflective markers and EM sensors were attached to a mechanical articulator that mimicked three-dimensional joint rotations, similar to the elbow. As the articulator was moved through known ranges of motion (i.e. gold standard), kinematic data were collected simultaneously using both tracking systems. Both systems were tended to underestimate the range of motion; however, the application of post hoc smoothing and least-squares correction algorithms reduced these effects. When smoothing and correction algorithms were used, the magnitude of the mean difference between the gold standard and either the EM or optical system did not exceed 2 degrees for any of the compound motions performed. This level of agreement suggests that the measurements obtained from either system are clinically comparable, provided appropriate smoothing and correction algorithms are employed.
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