Validation of a computer analysis to determine 3-D rotations and translations of the rib cage in upright posture from three 2-D digital images

Eur Spine J. 2007 Feb;16(2):213-8. doi: 10.1007/s00586-006-0081-4. Epub 2006 Mar 18.


Since thoracic cage posture affects lumbar spine coupling and loads on the spinal tissues and extremities, a scientific analysis of upright posture is needed. Common posture analyzers measure human posture as displacements from a plumb line, while the PosturePrint claims to measure head, rib cage, and pelvic postures as rotations and translations. In this study, it was decided to evaluate the validity of the PosturePrint Internet computer system's analysis of thoracic cage postures. In a university biomechanics laboratory, photographs of a mannequin thoracic cage were obtained in different postures on a stand in front of a digital camera. For each mannequin posture, three photographs were obtained (left lateral, right lateral, and AP). The mannequin thoracic cage was placed in 68 different single and combined postures (requiring 204 photographs) in five degrees of freedom: lateral translation (Tx), lateral flexion (Rz), axial rotation (Ry), flexion-extension (Rx), and anterior-posterior translation (Tz). The PosturePrint system requires 13 reflective markers to be placed on the subject (mannequin) during photography and 16 additional "click-on" markers via computer mouse before a set of three photographs is analyzed by the PosturePrint computer system over the Internet. Errors were the differences between the positioned mannequin and the calculated positions from the computer system. Average absolute value errors were obtained by comparing the exact inputted posture to the PosturePrint computed values. Mean and standard deviation of computational errors for sagittal displacements of the thoracic cage were Rx=0.3+/-0.1 degrees , Tz=1.6+/-0.7 mm, and for frontal view displacements were Ry=1.2+/-1.0 degrees , Rz=0.6+/-0.4 degrees , and Tx=1.5+/-0.6 mm. The PosturePrint system is sufficiently accurate in measuring thoracic cage postures in five degrees of freedom on a mannequin indicating the need for a further study on human subjects.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Manikins
  • Movement
  • Posture*
  • Ribs / anatomy & histology*
  • Rotation
  • Software / standards*
  • Spine / anatomy & histology