J Biomech 2008 Sep 15;41(13):2860-7. Epub 2008 Aug 15.
Institute for Medical Biometry and Informatics, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 305, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
This article introduces a method to capture the movements of the upper and the lower limb of infants using an electromagnetic tracking system and to reliably calculate the segmental kinematics. Analysis of the spontaneous movements of infants is important e.g. in the context of the "General Movement Analysis", which aims at the early diagnosis of motor dysfunctions. Due to special constraints regarding infant anatomy, previous approaches based on optical tracking could only gather position data of the infant' segments, whereas with this method in addition relative segment angles can be calculated. The spontaneous movements of the infant and simple calibration movements of the hand and the foot are used to calculate the joint centers and the joint axes of a multi-segmental chain model. The quality of the calibration movements is assessed at calibration time by calculating the root mean square deviation from the total least squares regression plane. The general accuracy of the recording is evaluated by the difference between recorded and estimated sensor positions and the difference between recorded and estimated sensor orientations. Movements of 20 infants between term and 3 months post term age were recorded and processed. A first application illustrates how abnormal movement patterns are manifested in the segmental kinematics. The results show that the presented method is a practicable and reliable way to record spontaneous infant movements and to calculate the segmental kinematics.