Subject-specific body segment parameter estimation using 3D photogrammetry with multiple cameras

PeerJ. 2015 Mar 10;3:e831. doi: 10.7717/peerj.831. eCollection 2015.


Inertial properties of body segments, such as mass, centre of mass or moments of inertia, are important parameters when studying movements of the human body. However, these quantities are not directly measurable. Current approaches include using regression models which have limited accuracy: geometric models with lengthy measuring procedures or acquiring and post-processing MRI scans of participants. We propose a geometric methodology based on 3D photogrammetry using multiple cameras to provide subject-specific body segment parameters while minimizing the interaction time with the participants. A low-cost body scanner was built using multiple cameras and 3D point cloud data generated using structure from motion photogrammetric reconstruction algorithms. The point cloud was manually separated into body segments, and convex hulling applied to each segment to produce the required geometric outlines. The accuracy of the method can be adjusted by choosing the number of subdivisions of the body segments. The body segment parameters of six participants (four male and two female) are presented using the proposed method. The multi-camera photogrammetric approach is expected to be particularly suited for studies including populations for which regression models are not available in literature and where other geometric techniques or MRI scanning are not applicable due to time or ethical constraints.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Body segment parameters; Geometric modelling; Photogrammetry; Structure from motion; Subject-specific estimation.

Grant support

Research was funded by the BBSRC (grant number BB/K006029/1). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.