A new way of assessing arm function in activity using kinematic Exposure Variation Analysis and portable inertial sensors--A validity study

Man Ther. 2016 Feb;21:241-9. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2015.09.004. Epub 2015 Sep 18.


Portable motion systems based on inertial motion sensors are promising methods, with the advantage compared to optoelectronic cameras of not being confined to a laboratory setting. A challenge is to develop relevant outcome measures for clinical use. The aim of this study was to characterize elbow and shoulder motion during functional tasks, using portable motion sensors and a modified Exposure Variation Analysis (EVA) and evaluate system accuracy with optoelectronic cameras. Ten healthy volunteers and one participant with sequel after stroke performed standardised functional arm tasks. Motion was registered simultaneously with a custom developed motion sensor system, including gyroscopes and accelerometers, and an optoelectronic camera system. The EVA was applied on elbow and shoulder joints, and angular and angular velocity EVA plots was calculated. The EVA showed characteristic patterns for each arm task in the healthy controls and a distinct difference between the affected and unaffected arm in the participant with sequel after stroke. The accuracy of the portable system was high with a systematic error ranging between -1.2° and 2.0°. The error was direction specific due to a drift component along the gravity vector. Portable motion sensor systems have high potential as clinical tools for evaluation of arm function. EVA effectively illustrates joint angle and joint angle velocity patterns that may capture deficiencies in arm function and movement quality. Next step will be to manage system drift by including magnetometers, to further develop clinically relevant outcome variables and apply this for relevant patient groups.

Keywords: Exposure Variation Analysis; Portable motion sensors; Upper extremity motion analysis; Validity.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology*
  • Elbow Joint / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology*