Smart Phone‐Based Motion Capture and Analysis: Importance of Operating Envelope Definition and Application to Clinical Use

Ashley Chey Vincent, Haley Furman, Rebecca C. Slepian, Kaitlyn R. Ammann, Carson Di Maria, Jung Hung Chien, Ka Chun Siu, Marvin J. Slepian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Human movement is vital for life, with active engagement affording function, limiting disease, and improving quality; with loss resulting in disability; and the treatment and training leading to restoration and enhancement. To foster these endeavors a need exists for a simple and reliable method for the quantitation of movement, favorable for widespread user availability. We developed a Mobile Motion Capture system (MO2CA) employing a smart‐phone and colored markers (2, 5, 10 mm) and here define its operating envelope in terms of: (1) the functional distance of marker detection (range), (2) the inter‐target resolution and discrimination, (3) the mobile target detection, and (4) the impact of ambient illumination intensity. MO2CA was able to detect and discriminate: (1) single targets over a range of 1 to 18 ft, (2) multiple targets from 1 ft to 11 ft, with intertarget discrimination improving with an increasing target size, (3) moving targets, with minimal errors from 2 ft to 8 ft, and (4) targets within 1 to 18 ft, with an illumination of 100–300 lux. We then evaluated the utility of motion capture in quantitating regional‐finger abduction/adduction and whole body–lateral flex motion, demonstrating a quantitative discrimination between normal and abnormal motion. Overall, our results demonstrate that MO2CA has a wide operating envelope with utility for the detection of human movements large and small, encompassing the whole body, body region, and extremity and digit movements. The definition of the effective operating envelope and utility of smart phone‐based motion capture as described herein will afford accuracy and appropriate use for future application studies and serve as a general approach for defining the operational bounds of future video capture technologies that arise for potential clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6173
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • digital health
  • image capture
  • mobile health
  • motion analysis
  • range of motion
  • smart phone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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