Vector Coding: A Technique for Quantification of Intersegmental Coupling in Multicyclic Behaviors

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The evaluation of a vector coding technique to quantify intersegmental coupling within a limb over multiple cycles of walking is described. The angular position of the knee with respect to the hip during walking was examined based on relative motion plots generated from videographic data. Participants included one able-bodied individual and one with spinal cord injury; the latter was assessed before and after participating in an assisted walking program. Vector coding of the frame-to-frame changes in hip/knee relationship was used to quantify the relative motion plots. Vector analysis techniques were then used to produce a single value that represents the overall variability of the hip/knee coupling relationship over multiple cycles. Hypothetical and random data were also used to evaluate the coding algorithm. In addition, the technique was compared to an earlier method in the analysis of this same data. Vector coding provided an easily interpretable method of quantifying the intersegmental coupling relationships and assessing the degree of consistency in the intralimb coordination over multiple cycles. The measure is sensitive to change in the kinematic variables and appears to have good validity. In addition, this technique has advantages over prior techniques as it allows simultaneous comparison of multiple cycles, calculations are performed quickly, and the algorithm is easy to program.

The authors are with The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami School of Medicine. E.C. Field-Fote (address: UM-PT, 5th Fl; 5915 Ponce de Leon Blvd; Coral Gables, FL 33146) is also with the Division of Physical Therapy, and D. Tepavac is on the Biomedical Engineering faculty at the University of Miami.

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