A Novel Method to Compute Breathing Volumes via Motion Capture Systems: Design and Experimental Trials

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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Respiratory assessment can be carried out by using motion capture systems. A geometrical model is mandatory in order to compute the breathing volume as a function of time from the markers‘ trajectories. This study describes a novel model to compute volume changes and calculate respiratory parameters by using a motion capture system. The novel method, ie, prism-based method, computes the volume enclosed within the chest by defining 82 prisms from the 89 markers attached to the subject chest. Volumes computed with this method are compared to spirometry volumes and to volumes computed by a conventional method based on the tetrahedron‘s decomposition of the chest wall and integrated in a commercial motion capture system. Eight healthy volunteers were enrolled and 30 seconds of quiet breathing data collected from each of them. Results show a better agreement between volumes computed by the prism-based method and the spirometry (discrepancy of 2.23%, R 2 = .94) compared to the agreement between volumes computed by the conventional method and the spirometry (discrepancy of 3.56%, R 2 = .92). The proposed method also showed better performances in the calculation of respiratory parameters. Our findings open up prospects for the further use of the new method in the breathing assessment via motion capture systems.

Massaroni, Cassetta, and Silvestri are with Research Unit of Measurements and Biomedical Instrumentation, Campus Bio-Medico di Roma University, Rome, Italy.

Address author correspondence to Carlo Massaroni at c.massaroni@unicampus.it.
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