Quantifying the Variability of Three-Dimensional Aiming Movements Using Ellipsoids

in Motor Control
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The utility of ellipsoids for quantifying central tendency and variability throughout the trajectory of goal-directed movements is described. Aiming movements were measured over 2 days of practice and under full-vision and no-vision conditions. A three-dimensional optoelectronic system measured the movements. Individual ellipsoid locations, dimensions, and volumes were derived from the average location and the spatial variability of the effector’s trajectory at proportional temporal periods throughout the movement. Changes in ellipsoid volume over time illustrate the evolution in motor control that occurred with practice and the processes associated with visual control. This technique has the potential to extend our understanding of limb control and can be applied to practical problems such as equipment design and evaluation of movement rehabilitation.

Hansen and Elliott are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK L3 2ET. Khan is with the Dept. of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science, University of Wales-Bangor, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2DG.

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