Sensors on the Humerus Are Not Necessary for an Accurate Assessment of Humeral Kinematics in Constrained Movements

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The measurement of humeral kinematics with a sensor on the humerus is susceptible to large errors due to skin motion artifacts. An alternative approach is to use data from a forearm sensor, combined with data from either a scapular or thoracic sensor. We used three tasks to assess the errors of these approaches: humeral elevation, elbow flexion and humeral internal rotation. Compared with the humeral method, the forearm methods (using either a scapular or thoracic sensor) demonstrated significantly smaller root mean square errors in humeral elevation and humeral internal rotation tasks. Although the errors of the forearm methods were significantly larger than those of the humeral method during elbow flexion, the errors of the forearm methods still were below 3°. Therefore, these forearm methods may be able to accurately measure humeral motion. In addition, since no difference was found between the forearm methods using the scapular or thoracic sensor, it may be possible to accurately assess both shoulder and elbow kinematics with only two sensors: one on the forearm and one on the scapula.

Yin-Liang Lin and Andrew R. Karduna (Corresponding Author) are with the Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.

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