Optimal assessment of upper body motion - Which and how many landmarks need to be captured for representing rigid body orientation?

J Biomech. 2022 Feb;132:110952. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2022.110952. Epub 2022 Jan 7.


In biomechanical studies, the thorax is often considered rigid. Since it's a well-known simplification, usually more than three markers are used to describe its movement in motion analyses. However, there is uncertainty about how many markers are advisable and which landmarks should be used. The results of the present study describe the expected error depending on the number of markers used. Furthermore, a recommendation is given for the landmarks with the least errors. This recommendation is valid for men and women as well as for different movements. The recommendations roughly reduce the error to about 50% and are beneficial especially in case only a small number of markers were used. For general motion capture, we recommend to use at least six thoracic markers.

Keywords: Landmarks; Measurement errors; Motion capture; Rigid-body motion; Spinal kinematics; Thorax.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion
  • Movement*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Thorax*